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As a man thinketh. By James Allen.

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As a man thinketh. By James Allen. …

As a man thinketh. By James Allen.
Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes, And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills, Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:— He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass

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  • 1. As a man thinketh. By James Allen. Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes, And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills, Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:— He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass. Contents 1. Foreword 2. Thought and Character 3. Effect of Thought on Circumstances 4. Effect of Thought on Health and the Body 5. Thought and Purpose 6. The Thought-Factor in Achievement 7. Visions and Ideals 8. Serenity Foreword THIS little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written-upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that— "They themselves are makers of themselves." by virtue of the thoughts, which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness. JAMES ALLEN. BROAD PARK AVENUE, ILFRACOMBE, ENGLAND 1. Thought and Character THE aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," not only embraces the whole of a man‘s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called "spontaneous" and "unpremeditated" as to those, which are deliberately executed. Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry. "Thought in the mind hath made us, What we are By thought was wrought and built. If a man‘s mind Hath evil thoughts, pain comes on him as comes The wheel the ox behind....
  • 2. ..If one endure In purity of thought, joy follows him As his own shadow—sure." Man is a growth by law, and not a creation by artifice, and cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of favour or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harbouring of grovelling thoughts. Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master. Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this—that man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny. As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills. Man is always the master, even in his weaker and most abandoned state; but in his weakness and degradation he is the foolish master who misgoverns his "household." When he begins to reflect upon his condition, and to search diligently for the Law upon which his being is established, he then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence, and fashioning his thoughts to fruitful issues. Such is the conscious master, and man can only thus become by discovering within himself the laws of thought; which discovery is totally a matter of application, self analysis, and experience. Only by much searching and mining, are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being, if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul; and that he is the maker of his character, the moulder of his life, and the builder of his destiny, he may unerringly prove, if he will watch, control, and alter his thoughts, tracing their effects upon himself, upon others, and upon his life and circumstances, linking cause and effect by patient practice and investigation, and utilizing his every experience, even to the most trivial, everyday occurrence, as a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself which is Understanding, Wisdom, Power. In this direction, as in no other, is the law absolute that "He that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened;" for only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge. 2. Effect of Thought on Circumstances MAN‘S mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with
  • 3. ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny. Thought and character are one, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of a person‘s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state. This does not mean that a man‘s circumstances at any given time are an indication of his entire character, but that those circumstances are so intimately connected with some vital thought-element within himself that, for the time being, they are indispensable to his development. Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err. This is just as true of those who feel "out of harmony" with their surroundings as of those who are contented with them. As a progressive and evolving being, man is where he is that he may learn that he may grow; and as he learns the spiritual lesson which any circumstance contains for him, it passes away and gives place to other circumstances. Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself. That circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time practised self-control and self-purification, for he will have noticed that the alteration in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition. So true is this that when a man earnestly applies himself to remedy the defects in his character, and makes swift and marked progress, he passes rapidly through a succession of vicissitudes. The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires,—and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own. Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit. The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss. Following the inmost desires, aspirations, thoughts, by which he allows himself to be dominated, (pursuing the will-o‘-the-wisps of impure imaginings or steadfastly walking the highway of strong and high endeavour), a man at last arrives at their fruition and fulfilment in the outer conditions of his life. The laws of growth and adjustment everywhere obtains. A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance, but by the pathway of grovelling thoughts and base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by stress of any mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power. Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself No such conditions can exist as descending into vice and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclinations, or ascending into virtue and its pure happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations; and man, therefore, as the lord and master of thought, is the maker
  • 4. of himself the shaper and author of environment. Even at birth the soul comes to its own and through every step of its earthly pilgrimage it attracts those combinations of conditions which reveal itself, which are the reflections of its own purity and, impurity, its strength and weakness. Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Their whims, fancies, and ambitions are thwarted at every step, but their inmost thoughts and desires are fed with their own food, be it foul or clean. The "divinity that shapes our ends" is in ourselves; it is our very self. Only himself manacles man: thought and action are the gaolers of Fate—they imprison, being base; they are also the angels of Freedom—they liberate, being noble. Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions. In the light of this truth, what, then, is the meaning of "fighting against circumstances?" It means that a man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing and preserving its cause in his heart. That cause may take the form of a conscious vice or an unconscious weakness; but whatever it is, it stubbornly retards the efforts of its possessor, and thus calls aloud for remedy. Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of heavenly things. Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well- poised life? Here is a man who is wretchedly poor. He is extremely anxious that his surroundings and home comforts should be improved, yet all the time he shirks his work, and considers he is justified in trying to deceive his employer on the ground of the insufficiency of his wages. Such a man does not understand the simplest rudiments of those principles which are the basis of true prosperity, and is not only totally unfitted to rise out of his wretchedness, but is actually attracting to himself a still deeper wretchedness by dwelling in, and acting out, indolent, deceptive, and unmanly thoughts. Here is a rich man who is the victim of a painful and persistent disease as the result of gluttony. He is willing to give large sums of money to get rid of it, but he will not sacrifice his gluttonous desires. He wants to gratify his taste for rich and unnatural viands and have his health as well. Such a man is totally unfit to have health, because he has not yet learned the first principles of a healthy life. Here is an employer of labour who adopts crooked measures to avoid paying the regulation wage, and, in the hope of making larger profits, reduces the wages of his workpeople. Such a man is altogether unfitted for prosperity, and when he finds himself bankrupt, both as regards reputation and riches, he blames circumstances, not knowing that he is the sole author of his condition. I have introduced these three cases merely as illustrative of the truth that man is the causer (though nearly always is unconsciously) of his circumstances, and that, whilst aiming at a good end, he is continually frustrating its accomplishment by encouraging thoughts and desires which cannot possibly harmonize with that end. Such cases could be multiplied and varied almost indefinitely, but this is not necessary, as the reader can, if he so resolves, trace the action of the laws of thought in his own mind and life, and until this is done, mere external facts cannot serve as a ground of reasoning. Circumstances, however, are so complicated, thought is so deeply rooted, and the conditions of happiness vary so, vastly with individuals, that a man‘s entire soul-condition (although it may be known to himself) cannot be judged by another from the external aspect of his life alone. A man may be honest in certain directions, yet suffer privations; a man may be dishonest in certain directions, yet acquire wealth; but the conclusion usually formed that the one man fails because of his particular
  • 5. honesty, and that the other prospers because of his particular dishonesty, is the result of a superficial judgment, which assumes that the dishonest man is almost totally corrupt, and the honest man almost entirely virtuous. In the light of a deeper knowledge and wider experience such judgment is found to be erroneous. The dishonest man may have some admirable virtues, which the other does, not possess; and the honest man obnoxious vices which are absent in the other. The honest man reaps the good results of his honest thoughts and acts; he also brings upon himself the sufferings, which his vices produce. The dishonest man likewise garners his own suffering and happiness. It is pleasing to human vanity to believe that one suffers because of one‘s virtue; but not until a man has extirpated every sickly, bitter, and impure thought from his mind, and washed every sinful stain from his soul, can he be in a position to know and declare that his sufferings are the result of his good, and not of his bad qualities; and on the way to, yet long before he has reached, that supreme perfection, he will have found, working in his mind and life, the Great Law which is absolutely just, and which cannot, therefore, give good for evil, evil for good. Possessed of such knowledge, he will then know, looking back upon his past ignorance and blindness, that his life is, and always was, justly ordered, and that all his past experiences, good and bad, were the equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self. Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they, therefore, do not co-operate with it. Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be no object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer. The circumstances, which a man encounters with suffering, are the result of his own mental inharmony. The circumstances, which a man encounters with blessedness, are the result of his own mental harmony. Blessedness, not material possessions, is the measure of right thought; wretchedness, not lack of material possessions, is the measure of wrong thought. A man may be cursed and rich; he may be blessed and poor. Blessedness and riches are only joined together when the riches are rightly and wisely used; and the poor man only descends into wretchedness when he regards his lot as a burden unjustly imposed. Indigence and indulgence are the two extremes of wretchedness. They are both equally unnatural and the result of mental disorder. A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer, of the man with his surroundings. A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself. Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the moulding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world. This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right he will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things
  • 6. and other people, things and other people will alter towards him. The proof of this truth is in every person, and it therefore admits of easy investigation by systematic introspection and self-analysis. Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance. Bestial thoughts crystallize into habits of drunkenness and sensuality, which solidify into circumstances of destitution and disease: impure thoughts of every kind crystallize into enervating and confusing habits, which solidify into distracting and adverse circumstances: thoughts of fear, doubt, and indecision crystallize into weak, unmanly, and irresolute habits, which solidify into circumstances of failure, indigence, and slavish dependence: lazy thoughts crystallize into habits of uncleanliness and dishonesty, which solidify into circumstances of foulness and beggary: hateful and condemnatory thoughts crystallize into habits of accusation and violence, which solidify into circumstances of injury and persecution: selfish thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of self-seeking, which solidify into circumstances more or less distressing. On the other hand, beautiful thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of grace and kindliness, which solidify into genial and sunny circumstances: pure thoughts crystallize into habits of temperance and self-control, which solidify into circumstances of repose and peace: thoughts of courage, self-reliance, and decision crystallize into manly habits, which solidify into circumstances of success, plenty, and freedom: energetic thoughts crystallize into habits of cleanliness and industry, which solidify into circumstances of pleasantness: gentle and forgiving thoughts crystallize into habits of gentleness, which solidify into protective and preservative circumstances: loving and unselfish thoughts crystallize into habits of self-forgetfulness for others, which solidify into circumstances of sure and abiding prosperity and true riches. A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances. Nature helps every man to the gratification of the thoughts, which he most encourages, and opportunities are presented which will most speedily bring to the surface both the good and evil thoughts. Let a man cease from his sinful thoughts, and all the world will soften towards him, and be ready to help him; let him put away his weakly and sickly thoughts, and lo, opportunities will spring up on every hand to aid his strong resolves; let him encourage good thoughts, and no hard fate shall bind him down to wretchedness and shame. The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colours, which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts. "So You will be what you will to be; Let failure find its false content In that poor word, ‘environment,‘ But spirit scorns it, and is free. "It masters time, it conquers space; It cowes that boastful trickster, Chance, And bids the tyrant Circumstance Uncrown, and fill a servant‘s place. "The human Will, that force unseen, The offspring of a deathless Soul,
  • 7. Can hew a way to any goal, Though walls of granite intervene. "Be not impatient in delays But wait as one who understands; When spirit rises and commands The gods are ready to obey." 3. Effect of Thought on Health and the Body THE body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty. Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express themselves through a sickly body. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as surely though less rapidly. The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body, and lays it open to the, entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will soon shatter the nervous system. Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigour and grace. The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it. Men will continue to have impure and poisoned blood, so long as they propagate unclean thoughts. Out of a clean heart comes a clean life and a clean body. Out of a defiled mind proceeds a defiled life and a corrupt body. Thought is the fount of action, life, and manifestation; make the fountain pure, and all will be pure. Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts. When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food. Clean thoughts make clean habits. The so-called saint who does not wash his body is not a saint. He who has strengthened and purified his thoughts does not need to consider the malevolent microbe. If you would protect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are drawn by folly, passion, and pride. I know a woman of ninety-six who has the bright, innocent face of a girl. I know a man well under middle age whose face is drawn into inharmonious contours. The one is the result of a sweet and sunny disposition; the other is the outcome of passion and discontent. As you cannot have a sweet and wholesome abode unless you admit the air and sunshine freely into your rooms, so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene countenance can only result from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of joy and goodwill and serenity. On the faces of the aged there are wrinkles made by sympathy, others by strong and pure thought, and others are carved by passion: who cannot distinguish them? With those who have lived righteously, age is calm, peaceful, and softly mellowed, like the setting sun. I have recently seen a philosopher on his deathbed. He was not old except in years. He died as sweetly and peacefully as he had lived.
  • 8. There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism, suspicion, and envy, is to be confined in a self made prison-hole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all—such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor. 4. Thought and Purpose UNTIL thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. With the majority the bark of thought is allowed to "drift" upon the ocean of life. Aimlessness is a vice, and such drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction. They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe. A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being; but whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought-forces upon the object, which he has set before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph. Those who are not prepared for the apprehension of a great purpose should fix the thoughts upon the faultless performance of their duty, no matter how insignificant their task may appear. Only in this way can the thoughts be gathered and focussed, and resolution and energy be developed, which being done, there is nothing which may not be accomplished. The weakest soul, knowing its own weakness, and believing this truth ‘that strength can only be developed by effort and practice, will, thus believing, at once begin to exert itself, and, adding effort to effort, patience to patience, and strength to strength, will never cease to develop, and will at last grow divinely strong. As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking. To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully. Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right nor the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded; they are disintegrating elements, which break up the straight line of effort, rendering it crooked, ineffectual, useless. Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplished anything, and never can. They always lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in. The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them. thwarts himself at every step.
  • 9. He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every, thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. His purposes are seasonably planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit, which does not fall prematurely to the ground. Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations; he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers. 5. The Thought-Factor in Achievement ALL that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual responsibility must be absolute. A man‘s weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own, and not another man‘s; they are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another man‘s. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains. A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition. It has been usual for men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor." Now, however, there is amongst an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves." The truth is that oppressor and slave are co-operators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves. A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor; a perfect Love, seeing the suffering, which both states entail, condemns neither; a perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed. He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed. He is free. A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak, and abject, and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts. Before a man can achieve anything, even in worldly things, he must lift his thoughts above slavish animal indulgence. He may not, in order to succeed, give up all animality and selfishness, by any means; but a portion of it must, at least, be sacrificed. A man whose first thought is bestial indulgence could neither think clearly nor plan methodically; he could not find and develop his latent resources, and would fail in any undertaking. Not having commenced to manfully control his thoughts, he is not in a position to control affairs and to adopt serious responsibilities. He is not fit to act independently and stand alone. But he is limited only by the thoughts, which he chooses. There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice, and a man‘s worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. And the higher he lifts his thoughts, the more manly, upright, and righteous he becomes, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements. The universe does not favour the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous. All the great Teachers of the ages have declared this in varying forms, and to prove and know it a man has but to persist in
  • 10. making himself more and more virtuous by lifting up his thoughts. Intellectual achievements are the result of thought consecrated to the search for knowledge, or for the beautiful and true in life and nature. Such achievements may be sometimes connected with vanity and ambition, but they are not the outcome of those characteristics; they are the natural outgrowth of long and arduous effort, and of pure and unselfish thoughts. Spiritual achievements are the consummation of holy aspirations. He who lives constantly in the conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and unselfish, will, as surely as the sun reaches its zenith and the moon its full, become wise and noble in character, and rise into a position of influence and blessedness. Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. By the aid of self- control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and well-directed thought a man ascends; by the aid of animality, indolence, impurity, corruption, and confusion of thought a man descends. A man may rise to high success in the world, and even to lofty altitudes in the spiritual realm, and again descend into weakness and wretchedness by allowing arrogant, selfish, and corrupt thoughts to take possession of him. Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by watchfulness. Many give way when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure. All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought, are governed by the same law and are of the same method; the only difference lies in the object of attainment. He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. 6. Visions and Ideals THE dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them as they realities which it shall one day see and know. Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, labouring humanity would perish. He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it; Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it; Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it. Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built. To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to, achieve. Shall man‘s basest desires receive the fullest measure of gratification, and his purest aspirations starve for lack of sustenance? Such is not the Law: such a condition of things can never obtain: "ask and receive." Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you
  • 11. shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil. The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities. Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without. Here is a youth hard pressed by poverty and labour; confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop; unschooled, and lacking all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of better things; he thinks of intelligence, of refinement, of grace and beauty. He conceives of, mentally builds up, an ideal condition of life; the vision of a wider liberty and a larger scope takes possession of him; unrest urges him to action, and he utilizes all his spare time and means, small though they are, to the development of his latent powers and resources. Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mentality that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside, and, with the growth of opportunities, which fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it forever. Years later we see this youth as a full-grown man. We find him a master of certain forces of the mind, which he wields with worldwide influence and almost unequalled power. In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsibilities; he speaks, and lo, lives are changed; men and women hang upon his words and remould their characters, and, sunlike, he becomes the fixed and luminous centre round which innumerable destinies revolve. He has realized the Vision of his youth. He has become one with his Ideal. And you, too, youthful reader, will realize the Vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love. Into your hands will be placed the exact results of your own thoughts; you will receive that which you earn; no more, no less. Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration: in the beautiful words of Stanton Kirkham Davis, "You may be keeping accounts, and presently you shall walk out of the door that for so long has seemed to you the barrier of your ideals, and shall find yourself before an audience—the pen still behind your ear, the ink stains on your fingers and then and there shall pour out the torrent of your inspiration. You may be driving sheep, and you shall wander to the city-bucolic and open-mouthed; shall wander under the intrepid guidance of the spirit into the studio of the master, and after a time he shall say, ‘I have nothing more to teach you.‘And now you have become the master, who did so recently dream of great things while driving sheep. You shall lay down the saw and the plane to take upon yourself the regeneration of the world." The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, "How highly favoured he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!" They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the Vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and joy, and call it "luck". They do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune," do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and call it chance. In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.
  • 12. The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart—this you will build your life by, this you will become. 7. Serenity CALMNESS of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought. A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene. The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanour is strongly equable. The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. "Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character, which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold— yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life—a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm! "How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control. How few people we meet in life who are well balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character! Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him. Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this: In the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, "Peace, be still!"
  • 13. The Mastery of Destiny. By James Allen Contents 1. Deeds, Character, and Destiny 2. The Science of Self-Control 3. Cause and Effect in Human Conduct 4. Training of the Will 5. Thoroughness 6. Mind-Building and Life-Building 7. Cultivation of Concentration 8. Practice of Meditation 9. The Power of Purpose 10. The Joy of Accomplishment 1. Deeds, Character, and Destiny THERE is, and always has been, a widespread belief in Fate, or Destiny, that is, in an eternal and inscrutable Power which apportions definite ends to both individuals and nations. This belief has arisen from long observation of the facts of life. Men are conscious that there are certain occurrences which they cannot control, and are powerless to avert. Birth and death, for instance, are inevitable, and many of the incidents of life appear equally inevitable. Men strain every nerve for the attainment of certain ends, and gradually they become conscious of a Power which seems to be not of themselves, which frustrates their puny efforts, and laughs, as it were, at their fruitless striving and struggle. As men advance in life, they learn to submit, more or less, to this overruling Power which they do not understand, perceiving only its effects in themselves and the world around them, and they call it by various names, such as God, Providence, Fate, Destiny, etc. Men of contemplation, such as poets and philosophers, step aside, as it were, to watch the movements of this mysterious Power as it seems to elevate its favorites on the one hand, and strike down its victims on the other, without reference to merit or demerit. The greatest poets, especially the dramatic poets, represent this Power in their works, as they have observed it in Nature. The Greek and Roman dramatists usually depict their heroes as having foreknowledge of their fate, and taking means to escape it; but by so doing they blindly involve themselves in a series of consequences which bring about the doom which they are trying to avert. Shakespeare‘s characters, on the other hand, are represented, as in Nature, with no foreknowledge (except in the form of presentiment) of their particular destiny. Thus, according to the poets, whether the man knows his fate or not, he cannot avert it, and every conscious or unconscious act of his is a step towards it. Omar Khayyam‘s Moving Finger is a vivid expression of this idea of Fate: "The Moving Finger writes, and having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."
  • 14. Thus, men in all nations and times have experienced in their lives the action of this invincible Power or Law, and in our nation today this experience has been crystallized in the terse proverb, "Man proposes, God disposes." But, contradictory as it may appear, there is an equally widespread belief in man‘s responsibility as a free agent. All moral teaching is an affirmation of man‘s freedom to choose his course and mold his destiny: and man‘s patient and untiring efforts in achieving his ends are declarations of consciousness of freedom and power. This dual experience of fate on the one hand, and freedom on the other, has given rise to the interminable controversy between the believers in Fatalism and the upholders of free will —a controversy which was recently revived under the term "Determinism versus Freewill." Between apparently conflicting extremes there is always a "middle way" of balance, justice, or compensation which, while it includes both extremes, cannot be said to be either one or the other, and which brings both into harmony; and this middle way is the point of contact between two extremes. Truth cannot be a partisan, but, by its nature, is the Reconciler of extremes; and so, in the matter which we are considering, there is a "golden mean" which brings Fate and Free will into close relationship, wherein, indeed, it is seen that these two indisputable facts in human life, for such they are, are but two aspects of one central law, one unifying and all-embracing principle, namely, the law of causation in its moral aspect. Moral causation necessitates both Fate and Free will, both individual responsibility and individual predestination, for the law of causes must also be the law of effects, and cause and effect must always be equal; the train of causation, both in matter and mind, must be eternally balanced, therefore eternally just, eternally perfect. Thus every effect may be said to be a thing preordained, but the predetermining power is a cause, and not the fiat of an arbitrary will. Man finds himself involved in the train of causation. His life is made up of causes and effects. It is both a sowing and a reaping. Each act of his is a cause which must be balanced by its effects. He chooses the cause (this is Free will), he cannot choose, alter, or avert the effect (this is Fate); thus Free will stands for the power to initiate causes, and destiny is involvement in effects. It is therefore true that man is predestined to certain ends, but he himself has (though he knows it not) issued the mandate; that good or evil thing from which there is no escape, he has, by his own deeds, brought about. It may here be urged that man is not responsible for his deeds, that these are the effects of his character, and that he is not responsible for the character, good or bad, which was given him at his birth. If character was "given him" at birth, this would be true, and there would then be no moral law, and no need for moral teaching; but characters are not given ready made, they are evolved; they are, indeed, effects, the products of the moral law itself, that is— the products of deeds. Character result of an accumulation of deeds which have been piled up, so to speak, by the individual during his life. Man is the doer of his own deeds; as such he is the maker of his own character; and as the doer of his deeds and the maker of his character, he is the molder and shaper of his destiny. He has the power to modify and alter his deeds, and every time he acts he modifies his character, and with the modification of his character for good or evil, he is predetermining for himself new destinies— destinies disastrous or beneficent in accordance with the nature of his deeds. Character is destiny itself; as a fixed combination of deeds, it bears within itself the results of those deeds. These results lie hidden as moral seeds in the dark recesses of the character, awaiting their season of germination, growth, and fruitage.
  • 15. Those things which befall a man are the reflections of himself; that destiny which pursued him, which he was powerless to escape by effort, or avert by prayer, was the relentless ghoul of his own wrong deeds demanding and enforcing restitution; those blessings and curses which come to him unbidden are the reverberating echoes of the sounds which he himself sent forth. It is this knowledge of the Perfect Law working through and above all things; of the Perfect Justice operating in and adjusting all human affairs, that enables the good man to love his enemies, and to rise above all hatred, resentment, and complaining; for he knows that only his own can come to him, and that, though he be surrounded by persecutors, his enemies are but the blind instruments of a faultless retribution; and so he blames them not, but calmly receives his accounts, and patiently pays his moral debts. But this is not all; he does not merely pay his debts; he takes care not to contract any further debts. He watches himself and makes his deeds faultless. While paying off evil accounts, he is laying up good accounts. By putting an end to his own sin, he is bringing evil and suffering to an end. And now let us consider how the Law operates in particular instances in the outworking of destiny through deeds and character. First, we will look at this present life, for the present is the synthesis of the entire past; the net result of all that a man has ever thought and done is contained within him. It is noticeable that sometimes the good man fails and the unscrupulous man prospers— a fact which seems to put all moral maxims as to the good results of righteousness out of account— and because of this, many people deny the operation of any just law in human life, and even declare that it is chiefly the unjust that prosper. Nevertheless, the moral law exists, and is not altered or subverted by shallow conclusions. It should be remembered that man is a changing, evolving being. The good man was not always good; the bad man was not always bad. Even in this life, there was a time, in a large number of instances, when the man who is now just, was unjust; when he who is now kind, was cruel; when he who is now pure, was impure. Conversely, there was a time in this life, in a number of instances, when he who is now unjust, was just; when he who is now cruel, was kind; when he who is now impure, was pure. Thus, the good man who is overtaken with calamity today is reaping the result of his former evil sowing; later he will reap the happy result of his present good sowing; while the bad man is now reaping the result of his former good sowing; later he will reap the result of his present sowing of bad. Characteristics are fixed habits of mind, the results of deeds. An act repeated a large number of times becomes unconscious, or automatic— that is, it then seems to repeat itself without any effort on the part of the doer, so that it seems to him almost impossible not to do it, and then it has become a mental characteristic. Here is a poor man out of work. He is honest, and is not a shirker. He wants work, and cannot get it. He tries hard, and continues to fail. Where is the justice in his lot? There was a time in this man‘s condition when he had plenty of work. He felt burdened with it; he shirked it, and longed for ease. He thought how delightful it would be to have nothing to do. He did not appreciate the blessedness of his lot. His desire for ease is now gratified, but the fruit for which he longed, and which he thought would taste so sweet, has turned to ashes in his mouth. The condition which he aimed for, namely, to have nothing to do, he has reached, and there he is compelled to remain till his lesson is thoroughly learned. And he is surely learning that habitual ease is degrading, that to have nothing to do is a condition of wretchedness, and that work is a noble and blessed thing. His former desires and deeds have brought him where he is; and now his present desire for work, his ceaseless searching and asking for it, will just
  • 16. as surely bring about its own beneficent result. No longer desiring idleness, his present condition will, as an effect, the cause of which is no longer propagated, soon pass away, and he will obtain employment; and if his whole mind is now set on work, and he desires it above all else, then when it comes he will be overwhelmed with it; it will flow in to him from all sides, and he will prosper in his industry. Then, if he does not understand the law of cause and effect in human life, he will wonder why work comes to him apparently unsought, while others who seek it strenuously fail to obtain it. Nothing comes unbidden; where the shadow is, there also is the substance. That which comes to the individual is the product of his own deeds. As cheerful industry leads to greater industry and increasing prosperity, and labor shirked or undertaken discontentedly leads to a lesser degree of labor and decreasing prosperity, so with all the varied conditions of life as we see them— they are the destinies wrought by the thoughts and deeds of each particular individual. So also with the vast variety of characters— they are the ripening and ripened growth of the sowing of deeds. As the individual reaps what he sows, so the nation, being a community of individuals, reaps also what it sows. Nations become great when their leaders are just men; they fall and fade when their just men pass away. Those who are in power set an example, good or bad, for the entire nation. Great will be the peace and prosperity of a nation when there shall arise within it a line of statesmen who, having first established themselves in a lofty integrity of character, shall direct the energies of the nation toward the culture of virtue and development of character, knowing that only through personal industry, integrity, and nobility can national prosperity proceed. Still, above all, is the Great Law, calmly and with infallible justice meting out to mortals their fleeting destinies, tear-stained or smiling, the fabric of their hands. Life is a great school for the development of character, and all, through strife and struggle, vice and virtue, success and failure, are slowly but surely learning the lessons of wisdom. 2. The Science of Self-Control WE live in a scientific age. Men of science are numbered by thousands, and they are ceaselessly searching, analyzing, and experimenting with a view to discovery and the increase of knowledge. The shelves of our libraries, both public and private, are heavy with their load of imposing volumes on scientific subjects, and the wonderful achievements of modern science are always before us— whether in our homes or in our streets, in country or town, on land or sea— there shall we have before us some marvelous device, some recent accomplishment of science, for adding to our comfort, increasing our speed, or saving the labor of our hands. Yet, with all our vast store of scientific knowledge, and its startling and rapidly increasing results in the world of discovery and invention, there is, in this age, one branch of science which has so far fallen into decay as to have become almost forgotten; a science, nevertheless, which is of greater importance than all the other sciences combined, and without which all science would but subserve the ends of selfishness, and aid in man‘s destruction—I refer to the Science of Self-control. Our modern scientists study the elements and forces which are outside themselves, with the object of controlling and utilizing them. The ancients studied the elements and forces which were within themselves, with a view to controlling and utilizing them, and the ancients produced such mighty Masters of knowledge in this direction, that to this day they are held in reverence as gods, and the vast religious organizations of the world are based upon their achievements.
  • 17. Wonderful as are the forces in nature, they are vastly inferior to that combination of intelligent forces which comprise the mind of man, and which dominate and direct the blind mechanical forces of nature. Therefore, it follows that, to understand, control, and direct the inner forces of passion, desire, will, and intellect, is to be in possession of the destinies of men and nations. As in ordinary science, there are, in this divine science, degrees of attainment; and a man is great in knowledge, great in himself, and great in his influence on the world, in the measure that he is great in self-control. He who understands and dominates the forces of external nature is the natural scientist; but he who understands and dominates the internal forces of the mind is the divine scientist; and the laws which operate in gaining a knowledge of external appearances, operate also in gaining a knowledge of internal varieties. A man cannot become an accomplished scientist in a few weeks or months, nay, not even in a few years. But only after many years of painstaking investigation can he speak with authority, and be ranked among the masters of science. Likewise, a man cannot acquire self-control, and become possessed of the wisdom and peace giving knowledge which that self-control confers, but by many years of patient labor; a labor which is all the more arduous because it is silent, and both unrecognized and unappreciated by others; and he who would pursue this science successfully must learn to stand alone, and to toil unrewarded, as far as any outward emolument is concerned. The natural scientist pursues, in acquiring his particular kind of knowledge, the following five orderly and sequential steps: 1. Observation: that is, he closely and persistently observes the facts of nature. 2. Experiment: Having become acquainted, by repeated observations, with certain facts, he experiments with those facts, with a view to the discovery of natural laws. He puts his facts through rigid processes of analysis, and so finds out what is useless and what of value; and he rejects the former and retains the latter. 3. Classification: Having accumulated and verified a mass of facts by numberless observations and experiments, he commences to classify those facts, to arrange them in orderly groups with the object of discovering some underlying law, some hidden and unifying principle, which governs, regulates, and binds together these facts. 4. Deduction: Thus he passes on to the fourth step of deduction. From the facts and results which are before him, he discovers certain invariable modes of action, and thus reveals the hidden laws of things. 5. Knowledge: Having proven and established certain laws, it may be said of such a man that he knows. He is a scientist, a man of knowledge. But the attainment of scientific knowledge is not the end, great as it is. Men do not attain knowledge for themselves alone, nor to keep it locked secretly in their hearts, like a beautiful jewel in a dark chest. The end of such knowledge is use, service, the increase of the comfort and happiness of the world. Thus, when a man has become a scientist, he gives the world the benefit of his knowledge, and unselfishly bestows upon mankind the results of all his labors. Thus, beyond knowledge, there is a further step of Use: that is, the right and unselfish use of the knowledge acquired; the application of knowledge to invention for the common weal. It will be noted that the five steps or processes enumerated follow in orderly succession, and that no man can become a scientist who omits any one of them. Without the first step of systematic observation, for instance, he could not even enter the realm of knowledge of nature‘s secrets.
  • 18. At first, the searcher for such knowledge has before him a universe of things: these things he does not understand; many of them, indeed, seem to be irreconcilably opposed one to the other, and there is apparent confusion; but by patiently and laboriously pursuing these five processes, he discovers the order, nature, and essences of things; perceives the central law or laws which bind them together in harmonious relationship, and so puts an end to confusion and ignorance. As with the natural scientist, so with the divine scientist; he must pursue, with the same self-sacrificing diligence, five progressive steps in the attainment of self-knowledge, self-control. These five steps are the same as with the natural scientist, but the process is reversed, the mind, instead of being centered upon external things, is turned back upon itself, and the investigations are pursued in the realm of mind (of one‘s own mind) instead of in that of matter. At first, the searcher for divine knowledge is confronted with that mass of desires, passions, emotions, ideas, and intellections which he calls himself, which is the basis of all his actions, and from which his life proceeds. This combination of invisible, yet powerful, forces appears confusedly; some of them stand, apparently, in direct conflict with each other, without any appearance or hope of reconciliation; his mind in its entirety, too, with his life which proceeds from that mind, does not seem to have any equitable relation to many other minds and lives about him, and altogether there is a condition of pain and confusion from which he would fain escape. Thus, he begins by keenly realizing his state of ignorance, for no one could acquire either natural or divine knowledge, if he were convinced that without study or labor he already possessed it. With such perception of one‘s ignorance, there comes the desire for knowledge, and the novice in self- control enters upon the ascending pathway, in which are the following five steps: 1. Introspection. This coincides with the observation of the natural scientist. The mental eye is turned like a searchlight upon the inner things of the mind, and its subtle and ever varying processes are observed and carefully noted. This stepping aside from selfish gratifications, from the excitements of worldly pleasures and ambitions, in order to observe, with the object of understanding, one‘s nature, is the beginning of self-control. Hitherto, the man has been blindly and impotently borne along by the impulses of his nature, the mere creature of things and circumstances, but now he puts a check upon his impulses and, instead of being controlled, begins to control. 2. Self-analysis. Having observed the tendencies of the mind, they are then closely examined, and are put through a rigid process of analysis. The evil tendencies (those that produce painful effects) are separated from the good tendencies (those that produce peaceful effects); and the various tendencies, with the particular actions they produce, and the definite results which invariably spring from these actions, are gradually grasped by the understanding, which is at last enabled to follow them in their swift and subtle interplay and profound ramifications. It is a process of testing and proving, and, for the searcher, a period of being tested and proved. 3. Adjustment. By this time, the practical student of things divine has clearly before him every tendency and aspect of his nature, down to the profoundest promptings of his mind, and the most subtle motives of his heart. There is not a spot or corner left, which he has not explored and illuminated with the light of self-examination. He is familiar with every weak and selfish point, every strong and virtuous quality. It is considered the height of wisdom to be able to see ourselves as others see us, but the practitioner of self-control goes far beyond this: he not only sees himself as others see him, he sees himself as he is. Thus, standing face to face with himself, not striving to hide away from any secret fault; no longer defending himself with
  • 19. pleasant flatteries; neither underrating nor overrating himself or his powers, and no more cursed with self-praise or self-pity, he sees the full magnitude of the task which lies before him; sees dearly ahead the heights of self-control, and knows what work he has to do to reach them. He is no longer in a state of confusion, but has gained a glimpse of the laws which operate in the world of thought, and he now begins to adjust his mind in accordance with those laws. This is a process of weeding, sifting, cleansing. As the farmer weeds, cleans, and prepares the ground for his crops, so the student removes the weeds of evil from his mind, cleanses and purifies it preparatory to sowing the seeds of righteous actions which shall produce the harvest of a well ordered life. 4. Righteousness. Having adjusted his thoughts and deeds to those minor laws which operate in mental activities in the production of pain and pleasure, unrest and peace, sorrow and bliss, he now perceives that there is involved in those laws one Great Central Law which, like the law of gravitation in the natural world, is supreme in the world of mind; a law to which all thoughts and deeds are subservient, and by which they are regulated and kept in their proper sphere. This is the law of Justice or Righteousness, which is universal and supreme. To this law he now conforms. Instead of thinking and acting blindly, as the nature is stimulated and appealed to by outward things, he subordinates his thoughts and deeds to this central principle. He no longer acts from self, but does what is right— what is universally and eternally right. He is no longer the abject slave of his nature and circumstances, he is the master of his nature and circumstances. He is no longer carried hither and thither on the forces of his mind; he controls and guides those forces to the accomplishment of his purposes. Thus, having his nature in control and subjection, not thinking thoughts nor doing deeds which oppose the righteous law, and which, therefore, that law annuls with suffering and defeat, he rises above the dominion of sin and sorrow, ignorance and doubt, and is strong, calm, and peaceful. 5. Pure Knowledge. By thinking right and acting right, he proves, by experience, the existence of the divine law on which the mind is framed, and which is the guiding and unifying principle in all human affairs and events, whether individual or national. Thus, by perfecting himself in self-control, he acquires divine knowledge; he reaches the point where it may be said of him, as of the natural scientist, that he knows. He has mastered the science of self-control, and has brought knowledge out of ignorance, order out of confusion. He has acquired that knowledge of self which includes knowledge of all men; that knowledge of one‘s own life which embraces knowledge of all live — as for all minds are the same in essence (differing only in degree), are framed upon the same law; and the same thoughts and acts, by whatsoever individual they are wrought, will always produce the same results. But this divine and peace bestowing knowledge, as in the case of the natural scientist, is not gained for one‘s self alone; for if this were so, the aim of evolution would be frustrated, and it is not in the nature of things to fall short of ripening and accomplishment; and, indeed, he who thought to gain this knowledge solely for his own happiness would most surely fail. So, beyond the fifth step of Pure Knowledge, there is a still further one of Wisdom, which is the right application of the knowledge acquired; the pouring out upon the world, unselfishly and without stint, the result of one‘s labors, thus accelerating progress and uplifting humanity. It may be said of men who have not gone back into their own nature to control and purify it, that they cannot clearly distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. They reach after those things which they think will give them pleasure, and try to avoid those things which they believe will cause them pain.
  • 20. The source of their actions is self, and they only discover right painfully and in a fragmentary way, by periodically passing through severe sufferings, and lashings of conscience. But he who practices self- control, passing through the five processes, which are five stages of growth, gains that knowledge which enables him to act from the moral law which sustains the universe. He knows good and evil, right and wrong, and, thus knowing them, lives in accordance with good and right. He no longer needs to consider what is pleasant or what is unpleasant, but does what is right; his nature is in harmony with his conscience, and there is no remorse; his mind is in unison with the Great Law, and there is no more suffering and sin; for him evil is ended, and good is all in all. 3. Cause and Effect in Human Conduct IT is an axiom with the scientists that every effect is related to a cause. Apply this to the realm of human conduct, and there is revealed the principle of Justice. Every scientist knows (and now all men believe) that perfect harmony prevails throughout every portion of the physical universe, from the speck of dust to the greatest sun. Everywhere there is exquisite adjustment. In the sidereal universe, with its millions of suns rolling majestically through space and carrying with them their respective systems of revolving planets, its vast nebula, its seas of meteors, and its vast army of comets traveling through illimitable space with inconceivable velocity, perfect order prevails; and again, in the natural world, with its multitudinous aspects of life, and its infinite variety of forms, there are the clearly defined limits of specific laws, through the operation of which all confusion is avoided, and unity and harmony eternally obtain. If this universal harmony could be arbitrarily broken, even in one small particular, the universe would cease to be; there could be no cosmos, but only universal chaos. Nor can it be possible in such a universe of law that there should exist any personal power which is above, outside, and superior to, such law in the sense that it can defy it, or set it aside; for whatsoever beings exist, whether they be men or gods, they exist by virtue of such law; and the highest, best, and wisest among all beings would manifest his greater wisdom by his more complete obedience to that law which is wiser than wisdom, and than which nothing more perfect could be devised. All things, whether visible or invisible, are subservient to, and fall within the scope of, this infinite and eternal law of causation. As all things seen obey it, so all things unseen — the thoughts and deeds of men, whether secret or open— cannot escape it. "Do right, it recompenseth; do one wrong, The equal retribution must be made." Perfect justice upholds the universe; perfect justice regulates human life and conduct. All the varying conditions of life, as they obtain in the world today, are the result of this law reacting on human conduct. Man can (and does) choose what causes he shall set in operation, but he cannot change the nature of effects; he can decide what thoughts he shall think, and what deeds he shall do, but he has no power over the results of those thoughts and deeds; these are regulated by the overruling law. Man has all power to act, but his power ends with the act committed. The result of the act cannot be altered, annulled, or escaped; it is irrevocable. Evil thoughts and deeds produce conditions of suffering; good thoughts and deeds determine conditions of blessedness. Thus man‘s power is limited to, and his blessedness or misery is determined by his own conduct. To know this truth, renders life simple, plain, and unmistakable; all the crooked paths are straightened out, the heights of wisdom are revealed, and the open door to salvation from evil and suffering is perceived and entered. Life may be likened to a sum in arithmetic. It is bewilderingly difficult and complex to the pupil who has not yet grasped the key to its correct solution, but once this is perceived and laid hold of, it becomes as astonishingly simple as it was formerly profoundly perplexing. Some idea of this relative
  • 21. simplicity and complexity of life may be grasped by fully recognizing and realizing the fact that, while there are scores, and perhaps hundreds, of ways in which a sum may be done wrong, there is only one way by which it can be done right, and that when that right way is found the pupil knows it to be the right; his perplexity vanishes, and he knows that he has mastered the problem. It is true that the pupil, while doing his sum incorrectly, may (and frequently does) think he has done it correctly, but he is not sure; his perplexity is still there, and if he is an earnest and apt pupil, he will recognize his own error when it is pointed out by the teacher. So in life, men may think they are living rightly while they are continuing, through ignorance, to live wrongly; but the presence of doubt, perplexity, and unhappiness are sure indications that the right way has not yet been found. There are foolish and careless pupils who would like to pass a sum as correct before they have acquired a true knowledge of figures, but the eye and skill of the teacher quickly detect and expose the fallacy. So in life there can be no falsifying of results; the eye of the Great Law reveals and exposes. Twice five will make ten to all eternity, and no amount of ignorance, stupidity, or delusion can bring the result up to eleven. If one looks superficially at a piece of cloth, he sees it as a piece of cloth, but if he goes further and inquires into its manufacture, and examines it closely and attentively, he sees that it is composed of a combination of individual threads, and that, while all the threads are interdependent, each thread pursues its own way throughout, never becoming confused with its sister thread. It is this entire absence of confusion between the particular threads which constitutes the finished work a piece of cloth; any inharmonious commingling of the thread would result in a bundle of waste or a useless rag. Life is like a piece of cloth, and the threads of which it is composed are individual lives. The threads, while being interdependent, are not confounded one with the other. Each follows its own course. Each individual suffers and enjoys the consequences of his own deeds, and not of the deeds of another. The course of each is simple and definite; the whole forming a complicated, yet harmonious, combination of sequences. There are action and reaction, deed and consequence, cause and effect, and the counterbalancing reaction, consequence, and effect is always in exact ratio with the initiatory impulse. A durable and satisfactory piece of cloth cannot be made from shoddy material, and the threads of selfish thoughts and bad deeds will not produce a useful and beautiful life — a life that will wear well, and bear close inspection. Each man makes or mars his own life; it is not made or marred by his neighbor, or by anything external to himself. Each thought he thinks, each deed he does, is another thread— shoddy or genuine— woven into the garment of his life; and as he makes the garment so must he wear it. He is not responsible for his neighbor‘s deeds; he is not the custodian of his neighbor‘s actions; he is responsible only for his own deeds; he is the custodian of his own actions. The "problem of evil" subsists in a man‘s own evil deeds, and it is solved when those deeds are purified. Says Rousseau: "Man, seek no longer the origin of evil; thou thyself art its origin." Effect can never be divorced from cause; it can never be of a different nature from cause. Emerson says: "Justice is not postponed; a perfect equity adjusts the balance in all parts of life." And there is a profound sense in which cause and effect are simultaneous, and form one perfect whole. Thus, upon the instant that a man thinks, say, a cruel thought, or does a cruel deed, that same instant he has injured his own mind; he is not the same man he was the previous instant; he is a little viler and a little more unhappy; and a number of such successive thoughts and deeds would produce a cruel and
  • 22. wretched man. The same thing applies to the contrary— the thinking of a kind thought, or doing a kind deed— an immediate nobility and happiness attend it; the man is better than he was before, and a number of such deeds would produce a great and blissful soul. Thus individual human conduct determines, by the faultless law of cause and effect, individual merit or demerit, individual greatness or meanness, individual happiness or wretchedness. What a man thinks, that he does; what he does, that he is. If he is perplexed, unhappy, restless, or wretched, let him look to himself, for there and nowhere else is the source of all his trouble. 4. Training of the Will WITHOUT strength of mind, nothing worthy of accomplishment can be done, and the cultivation of that steadfastness and stability of character which is commonly called "willpower" is one of the foremost duties of man, for its possession is essentially necessary both to his temporal and eternal well being. Fixedness of purpose is at the root of all successful efforts, whether in things worldly or spiritual, and without it man cannot be otherwise than wretched, and dependent upon others for that support which should be found within himself. The mystery which has been thrown around the subject of cultivation of the will by those who advertise to sell "occult advice" on the matter for so many dollars, should be avoided and dispelled, for nothing could be further removed from secrecy and mystery than the practical methods by which alone strength of will can be developed. The true path of will cultivation is only to be found in the common everyday life of the individual, and so obvious and simple is it that the majority, looking for something complicated and mysterious, pass it by unnoticed. A little logical thought will soon convince a man that he cannot be both weak and strong at the same time, that he cannot develop a stronger will while remaining a slave to weak indulgences, and that, therefore, the direct and only way to that greater strength is to assail and conquer his weaknesses. All the means for the cultivation of the will are already at hand in the mind and life of the individual; they reside in the weak side of his character, by attacking and vanquishing which the necessary strength of will be developed. He who has succeeded in grasping this simple, preliminary truth, will perceive that the whole science of will cultivation is embodied in the following seven rules: 1. Break off bad habits. 2. Form good habits. 3. Give scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment. 4. Do vigorously, and at once, whatever has to be done. 5. Live by rule. 6. Control the tongue. 7. Control the mind. Anyone who earnestly meditates upon, and diligently practices, the above rules, will not fail to develop that purity of purpose and power of will which will enable him to successfully cope with every difficulty, and pass triumphantly through every emergency. It will be seen that the first step is the breaking away from bad habits. This is no easy task. It demands the putting forth of great efforts, or a succession of efforts, and it is by such efforts that the will can alone be invigorated and fortified. If one refuses to take the first step, he cannot increase in willpower, for by submitting to a bad habit, because of the immediate pleasure which it affords, one forfeits the
  • 23. right to rule over himself, and is so far a weak slave. He who thus avoids self-discipline, and looks about for some "occult secrets" for gaining willpower at the expenditure of little or no effort on his part, is deluding himself, and is weakening the willpower which he already possesses. The increased strength of will which is gained by success in overcoming bad habits enables one to initiate good habits; for, while the conquering of a bad habit requires merely strength of purpose, the forming of a new one necessitates the intelligent direction of purpose. To do this, a man must be mentally active and energetic, and must keep a constant watch upon himself. As a man succeeds in perfecting himself in the second rule, it will not be very difficult for him to observe the third, that of giving scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment. Thoroughness is a step in the development of the will which cannot be passed over. Slipshod work is an indication of weakness. Perfection should be aimed at, even in the smallest task. By not dividing the mind, but giving the whole attention to each separate task as it presents itself, singleness of purpose and intense concentration of mind are gradually gained — two mental powers which give weight and worth of character, and bring repose and joy to their possessor. The fourth rule — that of doing vigorously, and at once, whatever has to be done — is equally important. Idleness and a strong will cannot go together, and procrastination is a total barrier to the acquisition of purposeful action. Nothing should be "put off" until another time, not even for a few minutes. That which ought to be done now should be done now. This seems a little thing, but it is of far reaching importance. It leads to strength, success, and peace. The man who is to manifest a cultivated will must also live by certain fixed rules. He must not blindly gratify his passions and impulses, but must school them to obedience. He should live according to principle, and not according to passion. He should decide what he will eat and drink and wear, and what he will not eat and drink and wear; how many meals per day he will have, and at what times he will have them; at what time he will go to bed, and at what time get up. He should make rules for the right government of his conduct in every department of his life, and should religiously adhere to them. To live loosely and indiscriminately, eating and drinking and sensually indulging at the beck and call of appetite and inclination, is to be a mere animal, and not a man with will and reason. The beast in man must be scourged and disciplined and brought into subjection, and this can only be done by training the mind and life on certain fixed rules of right conduct. The saint attains to holiness by not violating his vows, and the man who lives according to good and fixed rules, is strong to accomplish his purpose. The sixth rule, that of controlling the tongue, must be practiced until one has perfect command of his speech, so that he utters nothing in peevishness, anger, irritability, or with evil intent. The man of strong will does not allow his tongue to run thoughtlessly and without check. All these six rules, if faithfully practiced, will lead up to the seventh, which is the most important of them all — namely, rightly controlling the mind. Self-control is the most essential thing in life, yet least understood; but he who patiently practices the rules herein laid down, bringing them into requisition in all his ways and undertakings, will learn, by his own experience and efforts, how to control and train his mind, and to earn thereby the supreme crown of manhood — the crown of a perfectly poised will. 5. Thoroughness THOROUGHNESS consists in doing little things as though they were the greatest things in the world. That the little things of life are of primary importance, is a truth not generally understood, and the thought that little things can be neglected, thrown aside, or slurred over, is at the root of that lack of
  • 24. thoroughness which is so common, and which results in imperfect work and unhappy lives. When one understands that the great things of the world and of life consist of a combination of small things, and that without this aggregation of small things the great things would be nonexistent, then he begins to pay careful attention to those things which he formerly regarded as insignificant. He thus acquires the quality of thoroughness, and becomes a man of usefulness and influence; for the possession or non-possession of this one quality may mean all the difference between a life of peace and power, and one of misery and weakness. Every employer of labor knows how comparatively rare this quality is — how difficult it is to find men and women who will put thought and energy into their work, and do it completely and satisfactorily. Bad workmanship abounds. Skill and excellence are acquired by few. Thoughtlessness, carelessness, and laziness are such common vices that it should cease to appear strange that, in spite of "social reform," the ranks of the unemployed should continue to swell, for those who scamp their work today will, another day, in the hour of deep necessity, look and ask for work in vain. The law of the survival of the fittest is not based on cruelty, it is based on justice: it is one aspect of that divine equity which everywhere prevails. Vice is "beaten with many stripes"; if it were not so, how could virtue be developed? The thoughtless and lazy cannot take precedence of, or stand equally with, the thoughtful and industrious. A friend of mine tells me that his father gave all his children the following piece of advice: "Whatever your future work may be, put your whole mind upon it and do it thoroughly; you need then have no fear as to your welfare, for there are so many who are careless and negligent that the services of the thorough man are always in demand." I know those who have, for years, tried almost in vain to secure competent workmanship in spheres which do not require exceptional skill, but which call chiefly for forethought, energy, and conscientious care. They have discharged one after another for negligence, laziness, incompetence, and persistent breaches of duty — not to mention other vices which have no bearing on this subject; yet the vast army of the unemployed continues to cry out against the laws, against society, and against Heaven. The cause of this common lack of thoroughness is not far to seek; it lies in that thirst for pleasure which not only creates a distaste for steady labor, but renders one incapable of doing the best work, and of properly fulfilling one‘s duty. A short time ago, a case came under my observation (one of many such), of a poor woman who was given, at her earnest appeal, a responsible and lucrative position. She had been at her post only a few days when she began to talk of the "pleasure trips" she was going to have now she had come to that place. She was discharged at the end of a month for negligence and incompetence. As two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so the mind that is occupied with pleasure cannot also be concentrated upon the perfect performance of duty. Pleasure has its own place and time, but its consideration should not be allowed to enter the mind during those hours which should be devoted to duty. Those who, while engaged in their worldly task, are continually dwelling upon anticipated pleasures, cannot do otherwise than bungle through their work, or even neglect it when their pleasure seems to be at stake. Thoroughness is completeness, perfection; it means doing a thing so well that there is nothing left to be desired; it means doing one‘s work, if not better than anyone else can do it, at least not worse than the best that others do. It means the exercise of much thought, the putting forth of great energy, the persistent application of the mind to its task, the cultivation of patience, perseverance, and a high sense
  • 25. of duty. An ancient teacher said, "If anything has to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it vigorously"; and another teacher said, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." He who lacks thoroughness in his worldly duties, will also lack the same quality in spiritual things. He will not improve his character; will be weak and half-hearted in his religion, and will not accomplish any good and useful end. The man who keeps one eye on worldly pleasure and the other on religion, and who thinks he can have the advantage of both conditions, will not be thorough either in his pleasure seeking or his religion, but will make a sorry business of both. It is better to be a whole-souled worldling than a half-hearted religionist; better to give the entire mind to a lower thing than half of it to a higher. It is preferable to be thorough, even if it be in a bad or selfish direction, rather than inefficient and squeamish in good directions, for thoroughness leads more rapidly to the development of character and the acquisition of wisdom; it accelerates progress and unfoldment; and while it leads the bad to something better, it spurs the good to higher and ever higher heights of usefulness and power. 6. Mind-Building and Life-Building EVERYTHING, both in nature and the works of man, is produced by a process of building. The rock is built up of atoms; the plant, the animal, and man are built up of cells; a house is built of bricks, and a book is built of letters. A world is composed of a large number of forms, and a city of a large number of houses. The arts, sciences, and institutions of a nation are built up by the efforts of individuals. The history of a nation is the building of its deeds. The process of building necessitates the alternate process of breaking down. Old forms that have served their purpose are broken up, and the material of which they are composed enters into new combinations. There is reciprocal integration and disintegration. In all compounded bodies, old cells are ceaselessly being broken up, and new cells are formed to take their place. The works of man also require to be continually renewed until they have become old and useless, when they are torn down in order that some better purpose may be served. These two processes of breaking down and building up in Nature are called death and life; in the artificial works of man they are called destruction and restoration. This dual process, which obtains universally in things visible, also obtains universally in things invisible. As a body is built of cells, and a house of bricks, so a man‘s mind is built of thoughts. The various characters of men are none other than compounds of thoughts of varying combinations. Herein we see the deep truth of the saying, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Individual characteristics are fixed processes of thought; that is, they are fixed in the sense that they have become such an integral part of the character that they can be only altered or removed by a protracted effort of the will, and by much self-discipline. Character is built in the same way as a tree or a house is built— namely, by the ceaseless addition of new material, and that material is thought. By the aid of millions of bricks a city is built; by the aid of millions of thoughts a mind, a character, is built. Every man is a mind builder, whether he recognizes it or not. Every man must perforce think, and every thought is another brick laid down in the edifice of mind. Such "brick laying" is done loosely and carelessly by a vast number of people, the result being unstable and tottering characters that are ready to go down under the first little gust of trouble or temptation. Some, also, put into the building of their minds large numbers of impure thoughts; these are so many rotten bricks that crumble away as fast as they are put in, leaving always an unfinished and unsightly building, and one which can afford no comfort and no shelter for its possessor. Debilitating thoughts about one‘s health, enervating thoughts concerning unlawful pleasures,
  • 26. weakening thoughts of failure, and sickly thoughts of self-pity and self-praise are useless bricks with which no substantial mind temple can be raised. Pure thoughts, wisely chosen and well placed, are so many durable bricks which will never crumble away, and from which a finished and beautiful building, and one which affords comfort and shelter for its possessor, can be rapidly erected. Bracing thoughts of strength, of confidence, of duty; inspiring thoughts of a large, free, unfettered, and unselfish life, are useful bricks with which a substantial mind temple can be raised; and the building of such a temple necessitates that old and useless habits of thought be broken down and destroyed. "Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul! As the swift seasons roll." Each man is the builder of himself. If he is the occupant of a jerry-built hovel of a mind that lets in the rains of many troubles, and through which blow the keen winds of oft-recurring disappointments, let him get to work to build a more noble mansion which will afford him better protection against those mental elements. Trying to weakly shift the responsibility for his jerry-building on to the devil, or his forefathers, or anything or anybody but himself, will neither add to his comfort, nor help him to build a better habitation. When he wakes up to a sense of his responsibility, and an approximate estimate of his power, then he will commence to build like a true workman, and will produce a symmetrical and finished character that will endure, and be cherished by posterity, and which, while affording a never failing protection for himself, will continue to give shelter to many a struggling one when he has passed away. The whole visible universe is framed on a few mathematical principles. All the wonderful works of man in the material world have been brought about by the rigid observance of a few underlying principles; and all that there is to the making of a successful, happy, and beautiful life, is the knowledge and application of a few simple, root principles. If a man is to erect a building that is to resist the fiercest storms, he must build it on a simple, mathematical principle, or law, such as the square or the circle; if he ignores this, his edifice will topple down even before it is finished. Likewise, if a man is to build up a successful, strong, and exemplary life — a life that will stoutly resist the fiercest storms of adversity and temptation — it must be framed on a few simple, undeviating moral principles. Four of these principles are Justice, Rectitude, Sincerity, and Kindness. These four ethical truths are to the making of a life what the four lines of a square are to the building of a house. If a man ignores them and thinks to obtain success and happiness and peace by injustice, trickery, and selfishness, he is in the position of a builder who imagines he can build a strong and durable habitation while ignoring the relative arrangement of mathematical lines, and he will, in the end, obtain only disappointment and failure. He may, for a time, make money, which will delude him into believing that injustice and dishonesty pay well; but in reality his life is so weak and unstable that it is ready at any moment to fall; and when a critical period comes, as come it must, his affairs, his reputation, and his riches crumble to ruins, and he is buried in his own desolation. It is totally impossible for a man to achieve a truly successful and happy life who ignores the four moral principles enumerated, whilst the man who scrupulously observes them in all his dealings can no more fail of success and blessedness than the earth can fail of the light and warmth of the sun so long as it keeps to its lawful orbit; for he is working in harmony with the fundamental laws of the universe;
  • 27. he is building his life on a basis which cannot be altered or overthrown, and, therefore, all that he does will be so strong and durable, and all the parts of his life will be so coherent, harmonious, and firmly knit that it cannot possibly be brought to ruin. In all the universal forms which are built up by the Great Invisible and unerring Power, it will be found that the observance of mathematical law is carried out with unfailing exactitude down to the most minute detail. The microscope reveals the fact that the infinitely small is as perfect as the infinitely great. A snowflake is as perfect as a star. Likewise, in the erection of a building by man, the strictest attention must be paid to every detail. A foundation must first be laid, and, although it is to be buried and hidden, it must receive the greatest care, and be made stronger than any other part of the building; then stone upon stone, brick upon brick is carefully laid with the aid of the plumb line, until at last the building stands complete in its durability, strength, and beauty. Even so it is with the life of a man. He who would have a life secure and blessed, a life freed from the miseries and failures to which so many fall victims, must carry the practice of the moral principles into every detail of his life, into every momentary duty and trivial transaction. In every little thing he need be thorough and honest, neglecting nothing. To neglect or misapply any little detail— be he commercial man, agriculturist, professional man, or artisan— is the same as neglecting a stone or a brick in a building, and it will be a source of weakness and trouble. The majority of those who fail and come to grief do so through neglecting the apparently insignificant details. It is a common error to suppose that little things can be passed by, and that the greater things are more important, and should receive all attention; but a cursory glance at the universe, as well as a little serious reflection on life, will teach the lesson that nothing great can exist which is not made up of small details, and in the composition of which every detail is perfect. He who adopts the four ethical principles as the law and base of his life, who raises the edifice of character upon them, who in his thoughts and words and actions does not wander from them, whose every duty and every passing transaction is performed in strict accordance with their exactions, such a man, laying down the hidden foundation of integrity of heart securely and strongly, cannot fail to raise up a structure which shall bring him honor; and he is building a temple in which he can repose in peace and blessedness— even the strong and beautiful Temple of his life. 7. Cultivation of Concentration CONCENTRATION, or the bringing of the mind to a center and keeping it there, is vitally necessary to the accomplishment of any task. It is the father of thoroughness and the mother of excellence. As a faculty, it is not an end in itself, but is an aid to all faculties, all work. Not a purpose in itself, it is yet a power which serves all purposes. Like steam in mechanics, it is a dynamic force in the machinery of the mind and the functions of life. The faculty is a common possession, though in its perfection it is rare— just as will and reason are common possessions, though a perfectly poised will and a comprehensive reason are rare possessions— and the mystery which some modern mystical writers have thrown around it is entirely superfluous. Every successful man, in whatever direction his success may lie, practices concentration, though he
  • 28. may know nothing about it as a subject of study; every time one becomes absorbed in a book or task, or is rapt in devotion or assiduous in duty, concentration, in a greater or lesser degree, is brought into play. Many books purporting to give instructions on concentration make its practice and acquisition an end in itself. Than this, there is no surer nor swifter way to its destruction. The fixing of the eyes upon the tip of the nose, upon a doorknob, a picture, a mystical symbol, or the portrait of a saint; or the centering of the mind upon the navel, the pineal gland, or some imaginary point in space (I have seen all these methods seriously advised in works on this subject) with the object of acquiring concentration, is like trying to nourish the body by merely moving the jaw as in the act of eating, without taking food. Such methods prevent the end at which they aim. They lead towards dispersion and not concentration; towards weakness and imbecility rather than towards power and intelligence. I have met those who have squandered, by these practices, what measure of concentration they at first possessed, and have become the prey of a weak and wandering mind. Concentration is an aid to the doing of something; it is not the doing of something in itself. A ladder has no divine knowledge, or the sweeping of a floor — without resorting to methods which have no practical bearing on life; for what is concentration but the bringing of a well controlled mind to the doing of that which has to be done? He who does his work in an aimless, a hurried, or thoughtless manner, and resorts to his artificial "concentration methods" — to his doorknob, his picture, or nasal extremity — in order to gain that which he imagines to be some kind of mystical power — but which is a very ordinary and practical quality — though he may drift towards insanity (and I knew one man who became insane by these practices), he will not increase in steadiness of mind. The great enemy of concentration — and therefore of all skill and power— is a wavering, wandering, undisciplined value in and of itself, but only in so far as it enables us to reach something which we could not otherwise reach. In like manner, concentration is that which enables the mind to accomplish with ease that which it would be otherwise impossible to accomplish; but of itself it is a dead thing, and not a living accomplishment. Concentration is so interwoven with the uses of life that it cannot be separated from duty; and he who tries to acquire it apart from his task, his duty, will not only fail, but will diminish, and not increase, his mental control and executive capacity, and so render himself less and less fit to succeed in his undertakings. A scattered and undisciplined army would be useless. To make it effective in action and swift in victory it must be solidly concentrated and masterfully directed. Scattered and diffused thoughts are weak and worthless. Thoughts marshaled, commanded, and directed upon a given point, are invincible; confusion, doubt, and difficulty give way before their masterly approach. Concentrated thought enters largely into all successes, and informs all victories. There is no more secret about its acquirement than about any other acquisition, for it is governed by the underlying principle of all development, namely, practice. To be able to do a thing, you must begin to do it, and keep on doing it until the thing is mastered. This principle prevails universally— in all arts, sciences, trades; in all learning, conduct, religion. To be able to paint, one must paint; to know how to use a tool skillfully, he must use the tool; to become learned, he must learn; to become wise, he must do wise things; and to successfully concentrate his mind, he must concentrate it. But the doing is not all— it must be done with energy and intelligence. The beginning of concentration, then, is to go to your daily task and put your mind on it, bringing all your intelligence and mental energy to a focus upon that which has to be done; and every time the
  • 29. thoughts are found wandering aimlessly away, they should be brought promptly back to the thing in hand. Thus the "center" upon which you are to bring your mind to a point, is (not your pineal gland or a paint in space), but the work which you are doing every day; and your object in thus concentrating is to be able to do your work with smooth rapidity and consummate skill; for until you can thus do your work, you have not gained any degree of control over the mind; you have not acquired the power of concentration. This powerful focusing of one‘s thought and energy and will upon the doing of things is difficult at first as everything worth acquiring is difficult— but daily efforts, strenuously made and patiently followed up, will soon lead to such a measure of self-control as will enable one to bring a strong and penetrating mind to bear upon any work undertaken; a mind that will quickly comprehend all the details of the work, and dispose of them with accuracy and dispatch. He will thus, as his concentrative capacity increases, enlarge his usefulness in the scheme of things, and increase his value to the world, thus inviting nobler opportunities, and opening the door to higher duties; he will also experience the joy of a wider and fuller life. In the process of concentration there are the four following stages: 1. Attention. 2. Contemplation. 3. Abstraction. 4. Activity in Repose. At first the thoughts are arrested, and the mind is fixed upon the object of concentration, which is the task in hand— this is attention. The mind is then roused into vigorous thought concerning the way of proceeding with the task— this is contemplation. Protracted contemplation leads to a condition of mind in which the doors of the senses are all closed against the entrance of outside distractions, the thoughts being wrapped in, and solely and intensely centered upon, the work in hand — this is abstraction. The mind thus centered in profound cogitation reaches a state in which the maximum of work is accomplished with the minimum of friction— this is activity in repose. Attention is the first stage in all successful work. They who lack it fail in everything. Such are the lazy, the thoughtless, the indifferent and incompetent. When attention is followed by an awakening of the mind to serious thought, then the second stage is reached. To ensure success in all ordinary, worldly undertakings, it is not necessary to go beyond these two stages. They are reached, in a greater or lesser degree, by all that large army of skilled and competent workers which carries out the work of the world in its manifold departments, and only a comparatively small number reach the third stage of abstraction; for when abstraction is reached, we have entered the sphere of genius. In the first two stages, the work and the mind are separate, and the work is done more or less laboriously, and with a degree of friction; but in the third stage, a marriage of the work with the mind takes place, there is a fusion, a union, and the two become one: then there is a superior efficiency with less labor and friction. In the perfection of the first two stages, the mind is objectively engaged, and is easily drawn from its center by external sights and sounds; but when the mind has attained perfection in abstraction, the subjective method of working is accomplished, as distinguished from the objective. The thinker is then oblivious to the outside world, but is vividly alive in his mental operations. If
  • 30. spoken to, he will not hear; and if plied with more vigorous appeals, he will bring back his mind to outside things as one coming out of a dream; indeed, this abstraction is a kind of waking dream, but its similarity to a dream ends with the subjective state: it does not obtain in the mental operations of that state, in which, instead of the confusion of dreaming, there is perfect order, penetrating insight, and a wide range of comprehension. Whoever attains to perfection in abstraction will manifest genius in the particular work upon which his mind is centered. Inventors, artists, poets, scientists, philosophers, and all men of genius, are men of abstraction. They accomplish subjectively, and with ease, that which the objective workers— men who have not yet attained beyond the second stage in concentration— cannot accomplish with the most strenuous labor. When the fourth stage— that of activity in repose— is attained, then concentration in its perfection is acquired. I am unable to find a single word which will fully express this dual condition of intense activity combined with steadiness, or rest, and have therefore employed the term "activity in repose." The term appears contradictory, but the simple illustration of a spinning top will serve to explain the paradox. When a top spins at the maximum velocity, the friction is reduced to the minimum, and the top assumes that condition of perfect repose which is a sight so beautiful to the eye, and so captivating to the mind, of the schoolboy, who then says his top is "asleep." The top is apparently motionless, but it is the rest, not of inertia, but of intense and perfectly balanced activity. So the mind that has acquired perfect concentration is, when engaged in that intense activity of thought which results in productive work of the highest kind, in a state of quiet poise and calm repose. Externally, there is no apparent activity, no disturbance, and the face of a man who has acquired this power will assume a more or less radiant calmness, and the face will be more sublimely calm when the mind is most intensely engaged in active thought. Each stage of concentration has its particular power. Thus the first stage, when perfected, leads to usefulness; the second leads to skill, ability, talent; the third leads to originality and genius; while the fourth leads to mastery and power, and makes leaders and teachers of men. In the development of concentration, also, as in all objects of growth, the following stages embody the preceding ones in their entirety. Thus in contemplation, attention is contained; in abstraction, both attention and contemplation are embodied; and he who has reached the last stage, brings into play, in the act of contemplation, all the four stages. He who has perfected himself in concentration is able, at any moment, to bring his thoughts to a point upon any matter, and to search into it with the strong light of an active comprehension. He can both take a thing up and lay it down with equal deliberation. He has learned how to use his thinking faculties to fixed purposes, and guide them towards definite ends. He is an intelligent doer of things, and not a weak wanderer amid chaotic thought. Decision, energy, alertness, as well as deliberation, judgment, and gravity, accompany the habit of concentration; and that vigorous mental training which its cultivation involves, leads, through ever increasing usefulness and success in worldly occupations, towards that higher form of concentration called "meditation," in which the mind becomes divinely illumined, and acquires the heavenly knowledge. 8. Practice of Meditation WHEN aspiration is united to concentration, the result is meditation. When a man intensely desires to reach and realize a higher, purer, and more radiant life than the merely worldly and pleasure loving life, he engages in aspiration; and when he earnestly concentrates his thoughts upon the finding of that life, he practices meditation.
  • 31. Without intense aspiration, there can be no meditation. Lethargy and indifference are fatal to its practice. The more intense the nature of a man, the more readily will he find meditation, and the more successfully will he practice it. A fiery nature will most rapidly scale the heights of Truth in meditation, when its aspirations have become sufficiently awakened. Concentration is necessary to worldly success: meditation is necessary to spiritual success. Worldly skill and knowledge are acquired by concentration: spiritual skill and knowledge are acquired by meditation. By concentration a man can scale the highest heights of genius, but he cannot scale the heavenly heights of Truth: to accomplish this, he must meditate. By concentration a man may acquire the wonderful comprehension and vast power of a Caesar; by meditation he may reach the divine wisdom and perfect peace of a Buddha. The perfection of concentration is power; the perfection of meditation is wisdom. By concentration, men acquire skill in the doing of the things of life — in science, art, trade, etc.,— but by meditation, they acquire skill in life itself; in right living, enlightenment, wisdom, etc. Saints, sages, saviors— wise men and divine teachers — are the finished products of holy meditation. The four stages in concentration are brought into play in meditation; the difference between the two powers being one of direction, and not of nature. Meditation is therefore spiritual concentration; the bringing of the mind to a focus in its search for the divine knowledge, the divine life; the intense dwelling, in thought, on Truth. Thus a man aspires to know and realize, above all things else, the Truth; he then gives attention to conduct, to life, to self-purification: giving attention to these things, he passes into serious contemplation of the facts, problems, and mystery of life: thus contemplating, he comes to love Truth so fully and intensely as to become wholly absorbed in it, the mind is drawn away from its wanderings in a multitude of desires, and, solving one by one the problems of life, realizes that profound union with Truth which is the state of abstraction; and thus absorbed in Truth, there is that balance and poise of character, that divine action in repose, which is the abiding calm and peace of an emancipated and enlightened mind. Meditation is more difficult to practice than concentration because it involves a much more severe self- discipline than that which obtains in concentration. A man can practice concentration without purifying his heart and life, whereas the process of purification is inseparable from meditation. The object of meditation is divine enlightenment, the attainment of Truth, and is therefore interwoven with practical purity and righteousness. Thus while, at first, the time spent in actual meditation is short — perhaps only half an hour in the early morning — the knowledge gained in that half hour of vivid aspiration and concentrated thought is embodied in practice during the whole day. In meditation, therefore, the entire life of a man is involved; and as he advances in its practice he becomes more and more fitted to perform the duties of life in the circumstances in which he may be placed, for he becomes stronger, holier, calmer, and wiser. The principle of meditation is twofold, namely: 1. Purification of the heart by repetitive thought on pure things. 2. Attainment of divine knowledge by embodying such purity in practical life. Man is a thought being, and his life and character are determined by the thoughts in which he habitually dwells. By practice, association, and habit, thoughts tend to repeat themselves with greater and greater ease and frequency; and so "fix" the character in a given direction by producing that automatic action which is called "habit."
  • 32. By daily dwelling upon pure thoughts, the man of meditation forms the habit of pure and enlightened thinking which leads to pure and enlightened actions and well performed duties. By the ceaseless repetition of pure thoughts, he at last becomes one with those thoughts, and is a purified being, manifesting his attainment in pure actions, in a serene and wise life. The majority of men live in a series of conflicting desires, passions, emotions, and speculations, and there are restlessness, uncertainty, and sorrow; but when a man begins to train his mind in meditation, he gradually gains control over this inward conflict by bringing his thoughts to a focus upon a central principle. In this way the old habits of impure and erroneous thought and action are broken up, and the new habits of pure and enlightened thought and action are formed; the man becomes more and more reconciled to Truth, and there is increasing harmony and insight, a growing perfection and peace. A powerful and lofty aspiration towards Truth is always accompanied with a keen sense of the sorrow and brevity and mystery of life, and until this condition of mind is reached, meditation is impossible. Merely musing, or whiling away the time in idle dreaming (habits to which the word meditation is frequently applied), are very far removed from meditation, in the lofty spiritual sense which we attach to that condition. It is easy to mistake reverie for meditation. This is a fatal error which must be avoided by one striving to meditate. The two must not be confounded. Reverie is a loose dreaming into which a man falls; meditation is a strong, purposeful thinking into which a man rises. Reverie is easy and pleasurable; meditation is at first difficult and irksome. Reverie thrives in indolence and luxury; meditation arises from strenuousness and discipline. Reverie is first alluring, then sensuous, and then sensual. Meditation is first forbidding, then profitable, and then peaceful. Reverie is dangerous; it undermines self-control. Meditation is protective; it establishes self- control. There are certain signs by which one can know whether he is engaging in reverie or meditation. The indications of reverie are: 1. A desire to avoid exertion. 2. A desire to experience the pleasures of dreaming. 3. An increasing distaste for one‘s worldly duties. 4. A desire to shirk one‘s worldly responsibilities. 5. Fear of consequences. 6. A wish to get money with as little effort as possible. 7. Lack of self-control. The indications of meditation are: 1. Increase of both physical and mental energy. 2. A strenuous striving after wisdom. 3. A decrease of irksomeness in the performance of duty. 4. A fixed determination to faithfully fulfill all worldly responsibilities. 5. Freedom from fear. 6. Indifference to riches.
  • 33. 7. Possession of self-control. There are certain times, places, and conditions in and under which it is impossible to meditate, others wherein it is difficult to meditate, and others wherein meditation is rendered more accessible; and these, which should be known and carefully observed, are as follows: Times, Places, and Conditions in which Meditation is Impossible: 1. At, or immediately after, meals. 2. In places of pleasure. 3. In crowded places. 4. While walking rapidly. 5. While lying in bed in the morning. 6. While smoking. 7. While lying on a couch or bed for physical or mental relaxation. Times, Places and Conditions in which Meditation is Difficult: 1. At night. 2. In a luxuriously furnished room. 3. While sitting on a soft, yielding seat. 4. While wearing gay clothing. 5. When in company. 6. When the body is weary. 7. If the body is given too much food. Times, Places, and Conditions in which it is Best to Meditate: 1. Very early in the morning. 2. Immediately before meals. 3. In solitude. 4. In the open air or in a plainly furnished room. 5. While sitting on a hard seat. 6. When the body is strong and vigorous. 7. When the body is modestly and plainly clothed. It will be seen by the foregoing instructions that ease, luxury, and indulgence (which induce reverie) render meditation difficult, and when strongly pronounced make it impossible; while strenuousness, discipline, and self-denial (which dispel reverie), make meditation comparatively easy. The body, too, should be neither overfed nor starved; neither in rags nor flauntingly clothed. It should not be tired, but should be at its highest point of energy and strength, as the holding of the mind to a concentrated train of subtle and lofty thought requires a high degree of both physical and mental energy. Aspiration can often best be aroused, and the mind renewed in meditation, by the mental repetition of a lofty precept, a beautiful sentence or a verse of poetry. Indeed, the mind that is ready for meditation will instinctively adopt this practice. Mere mechanical repetition is worthless, and even a hindrance.
  • 34. The words repeated must be so applicable to one‘s own condition that they are dwelt upon lovingly and with concentrated devotion. In this way aspiration and concentration harmoniously combine to produce, without undue strain, the state of meditation. All the conditions above stated are of the utmost importance in the early stages of meditation, and should be carefully noted and duly observed by all who are striving to acquire the practice; and those who faithfully follow the instructions, and who strive and persevere, will not fail to gather in, in due season, the harvest of purity, wisdom, bliss, and peace; and will surely eat of the sweet fruits of holy meditation. 9. The Power of Purpose DISPERSION is weakness; concentration is power. Destruction is a scattering, preservation a uniting, process. Things are useful and thoughts are powerful in the measure that their parts are strongly and intelligently concentrated. Purpose is highly concentrated thought. All the mental energies are directed to the attainment of an object, and obstacles which intervene between the thinker and the object are, one after another, broken down and overcome. Purpose is the keystone in the temple of achievement. It binds and holds together in a complete whole that which would otherwise lie scattered and useless. Empty whims, ephemeral fancies, vague desires, and half-hearted resolutions have no place in purpose. In the sustained determination to accomplish there is an invincible power which swallows up all inferior considerations, and marches direct to victory. All successful men are men of purpose. They hold fast to an idea, a project, a plan, and will not let it go; they cherish it, brood upon it, tend and develop it; and when assailed by difficulties, they refuse to be beguiled into surrender; indeed, the intensity of the purpose increases with the growing magnitude of the obstacles encountered. The men who have molded the destinies of humanity have been men mighty of purpose. Like the Roman laying his road, they have followed along a well defined path, and have refused to swerve aside even when torture and death confronted them. The Great Leaders of the race are the mental road makers, and mankind follows in the intellectual and spiritual paths which they have carved out and beaten. Great is the power of purpose. To know how great, let a man study it in the lives of those whose influence has shaped the ends of nations and directed the destinies of the world. In an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon, we see the power of purpose when it is directed in worldly and personal channels; in a Confucius, a Buddha, or a Christ, we perceive its vaster power when its course is along heavenly and impersonal paths. Purpose goes with intelligence. There are lesser and greater purposes according with degrees of intelligence. A great mind will always be great of purpose. A weak intelligence will be without purpose. A drifting mind argues a measure of undevelopment. What can resist an unshakable purpose? What can stand against it or turn it aside? Inert matter yields to a living force, and circumstance succumbs to the power of purpose. Truly, the man of unlawful purpose will, in achieving his ends, destroy himself, but the man of good and lawful purpose cannot fail. It only needs that he daily renew the fire and energy of his fixed resolve, to consummate his object. The weak man, who grieves because he is misunderstood, will not greatly achieve; the vain man, who steps aside from his resolve in order to please others and gain their approbation, will not highly achieve; the double minded man, who thinks to compromise his purpose, will fail. The man of fixed purpose who, whether misunderstandings and foul accusations, or flatteries and fair
  • 35. promises, rain upon him, does not yield a fraction of his resolve, is the man of excellence and achievement; of success, greatness, power. Hindrances stimulate the man of purpose; difficulties nerve him to renewed exertion; mistakes, losses, pains, do not subdue him; and failures are steps in the ladder of success, for he is ever conscious of the certainty of final achievement. All things at last yield to the silent, irresistible, all conquering energy of purpose. "Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not whined nor cried aloud; Under the bludgeoning of chance My head is bloody but unbowed. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishment the scroll; I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." 10. The Joy of Accomplishment JOY is always the accompaniment of a task successfully accomplished. An undertaking completed, or a piece of work done, always brings rest and satisfaction. "When a man has done his duty, he is light- hearted and happy," says Emerson; and no matter how insignificant the task may appear, the doing of it faithfully and with whole-souled energy always results in cheerfulness and peace of mind. Of all miserable men, the shirker is the most miserable. Thinking to find ease and happiness in avoiding difficult duties and necessary tasks, which require the expenditure of labor and exertion, his mind is always uneasy and disturbed, he becomes burdened with an inward sense of shame, and forfeits manliness and self-respect. "He who will not work according to his faculty, let him perish according to his necessity," says Carlyle; and it is a moral law that the man who avoids duty, and does not work to the full extent of his capacity, does actually perish, first in his character and last in his body and circumstances. Life and action are synonymous, and immediately a man tries to escape exertion, either physical or mental, he has commenced to decay. On the other hand, the energetic increase in life by the full exercise of their powers, by overcoming difficulties, and by bringing to completion tasks which coiled for the strenuous use of mind or muscle. How happy is a child when a school lesson, long labored over, is mastered at last! The athlete, who has trained his body through long months or years of discipline and strain, is richly blessed in his increased health and strength; and is met with the rejoicings of his friends when he carries home the prize from the field of contest. After many years of ungrudging toil, the heart of the scholar is gladdened with the advantages and powers which learning bestows. The business man, grappling incessantly with difficulties and drawbacks, is amply repaid in the happy assurance of well earned success; and the horticulturist, vigorously contending with the stubborn soil, sits down at last to eat of the fruits of his labor. Every successful accomplishment, even in worldly things, is repaid with its own measure of joy; and in
  • 36. spiritual things, the joy which supervenes upon the perfection of purpose is sure, deep and abiding. Great is the heartfelt joy (albeit ineffable) when, after innumerable and apparently unsuccessful attempts, some ingrained fault of character is at last cast out to trouble its erstwhile victim and the world no more. The striver after virtue — he who is engaged in the holy task of building up a noble character — tastes, at every step of conquest over self, a joy which does not again leave him, but which becomes an integral part of his spiritual nature. All life is a struggle; both without and within there are conditions against which man must contend; his very existence is a series of efforts and accomplishments, and his right to remain among men as a useful unit of humanity depends upon the measure of his capacity for wrestling successfully with the elements of nature without, or with the enemies of virtue and truth within. It is demanded of man that he shall continue to strive after better things, after greater perfection, after higher and still higher achievements; and in accordance with the measure of his obedience to this demand, does the angel of joy wait upon his footsteps and minister unto him; for he who is anxious to learn, eager to know, and who puts forth efforts to accomplish, finds the joy which eternally sings at the heart of the universe. First in little things, then in greater, and then in greater still, must man strive; until at last he is prepared to make the supreme effort, and strive for the accomplishment of Truth, succeeding in which, he will realize the eternal joy. The price of life is effort; the acme of effort is accomplishment; the reward of accomplishment is joy. Blessed is the man who strives against his own selfishness; he will taste in its fullness the joy of accomplishment. From poverty to power; or, the realization of prosperity and peace. By James Allen. Content • Foreword • Part I: The path to prosperity 1. The lesson of evil 2. The world a reflex of mental states 3. The way out of undesirable conditions 4. The silent power of thought: controlling and directing one‘s forces 5. The secret of health, success, and power 6. The secret of abounding happiness 7. The realization of prosperity • Part II: The way of peace 1. The power of meditation 2. The two masters, self and truth 3. The acquirement of spiritual power 4. The realization of selfless love 5. Entering into the infinite 6. Saints, sages and saviors: the law of service
  • 37. 7. The realization of perfect peace Foreword I looked around upon the world, and saw that it was shadowed by sorrow and scorched by the fierce fires of suffering. And I looked for the cause. I looked around, but could not find it; I looked in books, but could not find it; I looked within, and found there both the cause and the self-made nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found the remedy. I found one Law, the Law of Love; one Life, the Life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the truth of a conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart. And I dreamed of writing a book which should help men and women, whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, worldly or unworldly, to find within themselves the source of all success, all happiness, all accomplishment, all truth. And the dream remained with me, and at last became substantial; and now I send it forth into the world on its mission of healing and blessedness, knowing that it cannot fail to reach the homes and hearts of those who are waiting and ready to receive it. James Allen. Part I: The path of prosperity 1. The lesson of evil Unrest and pain and sorrow are the shadows of life. There is no heart in all the world that has not felt the sting of pain, no mind has not been tossed upon the dark waters of trouble, no eye that has not wept the hot blinding tears of unspeakable anguish. There is no household where the Great Destroyers, disease and death, have not entered, severing heart from heart, and casting over all the dark pall of sorrow. In the strong, and apparently indestructible meshes of evil all are more or less fast caught, and pain, unhappiness, and misfortune wait upon mankind. With the object of escaping, or in some way mitigating this overshadowing gloom, men and women rush blindly into innumerable devices, pathways by which they fondly hope to enter into a happiness which will not pass away. Such are the drunkard and the harlot, who revel in sensual excitements; such is the exclusive aesthete, who shuts himself out from the sorrows of the world, and surrounds himself with enervating luxuries; such is he who thirsts for wealth or fame, and subordinates all things to the achievement of that object; and such are they who seek consolation in the performance of religious rites. And to all the happiness sought seems to come, and the soul, for a time, is lulled into a sweet security, and an intoxicating forgetfulness of the existence of evil; but the day of disease comes at last, or some great sorrow, temptation, or misfortune breaks suddenly in on the unfortified soul, and the fabric of its fancied happiness is torn to shreds. So over the head of every personal joy hangs the Damocletian sword of pain, ready, at any moment, to fall and crush the soul of him who is unprotected by knowledge. The child cries to be a man or woman; the man and woman sigh for the lost felicity of childhood. The poor man chafes under the chains of poverty by which he is bound, and the rich man often lives in fear of poverty, or scours the world in search of an elusive shadow he calls happiness. Sometimes the soul feels that it has found a secure peace and happiness in adopting a certain religion,
  • 38. in embracing an intellectual philosophy, or in building up an intellectual or artistic ideal; but some overpowering temptation proves the religion to be inadequate or insufficient; the theoretical philosophy is found to be a useless prop; or in a moment, the idealistic statue upon which the devotee has for years been laboring, is shattered into fragments at his feet. Is there, then, no way of escape from pain and sorrow? Are there no means by which bonds of evil may be broken? Is permanent happiness, secure prosperity, and abiding peace a foolish dream? No, there is a way, and I speak it with gladness, by which evil can be slain for ever; there is a process by which disease, poverty, or any adverse condition or circumstance can be put on one side never to return; there is a method by which a permanent prosperity can be secured, free from all fear of the return of adversity, and there is a practice by which unbroken and unending peace and bliss can be partaken of and realized. And the beginning of the way which leads to this glorious realization is the acquirement of a right understanding of the nature of evil. It is not sufficient to deny or ignore evil; it must be understood. It is not enough to pray to God to remove the evil; you must find out why it is there, and what lesson it has for you. It is of no avail to fret and fume and chafe at the chains which bind you; you must know why and how you are bound. Therefore, reader, you must get outside yourself, and must begin to examine and understand yourself. You must cease to be a disobedient child in the school of experience and must begin to learn, with humility and patience, the lessons that are set for your edification and ultimate perfection; for evil, when rightly understood, is found to be, not an unlimited power or principle in the universe, but a passing phase of human experience, and it therefore becomes a teacher to those who are willing to learn. Evil is not an abstract some thing outside yourself; it is an experience in your own heart, and by patiently examining and rectifying your heart you will be gradually led into the discovery of the origin and nature of evil, which will necessarily be followed by its complete eradication. All evil is corrective and remedial, and is therefore not permanent. It is rooted in ignorance, ignorance of the true nature and relation of things, and so long as we remain in that state of ignorance, we remain subject to evil. There is no evil in the universe which is not the result of ignorance, and which would not, if we were ready and willing to learn its lesson, lead us to higher wisdom, and then vanish away. But men remain in evil, and it does not pass away because men are not willing or prepared to learn the lesson which it came to teach them. I knew a child who, every night when its mother took it to bed, cried to be allowed to play with the candle; and one night, when the mother was off guard for a moment, the child took hold of the candle; the inevitable result followed, and the child never wished to play with the candle again. By its one foolish act it learned, and learned perfectly the lesson of obedience, and entered into the knowledge that fire burns. And, this incident is a complete illustration of the nature, meaning, and ultimate result of all sin and evil. As the child suffered through its own ignorance of the real nature of fire, so older children suffer through their ignorance of the real nature of the things which they weep for and strive after, and which harm them when they are secured; the only difference being that in the latter case the ignorance and evil are more deeply rooted and obscure.
  • 39. Evil has always been symbolized by darkness, and Good by light, and hidden within the symbol is contained the perfect interpretation, the reality; for, just as light always floods the universe, and darkness is only a mere speck or shadow cast by a small body intercepting a few rays of the illimitable light, so the Light of the Supreme Good is the positive and life-giving power which floods the universe, and evil the insignificant shadow cast by the self that intercepts and shuts off the illuminating rays which strive for entrance. When night folds the world in its black impenetrable mantle, no matter how dense the darkness, it covers but the small space of half our little planet, while the whole universe is ablaze with living light, and every soul knows that it will awake in the light in the morning. Know, then, that when the dark night of sorrow, pain, or misfortune settles down upon your soul, and you stumble along with weary and uncertain steps, that you are merely intercepting your own personal desires between yourself and the boundless light of joy and bliss, and the dark shadow that covers you is cast by none and nothing but yourself. And just as the darkness without is but a negative shadow, an unreality which comes from nowhere, goes to nowhere, and has no abiding dwelling place, so the darkness within is equally a negative shadow passing over the evolving and Lightborn soul. ―But,‖ I fancy I hear someone say, ―why pass through the darkness of evil at all?‖ Because, by ignorance, you have chosen to do so, and because, by doing so, you may understand both good and evil, and may the more appreciate the light by having passed through the darkness. As evil is the direct outcome of ignorance, so, when the lessons of evil are fully learned, ignorance passes away, and wisdom takes its place. But as a disobedient child refuses to learn its lessons at school, so it is possible to refuse to learn the lessons of experience, and thus to remain in continual darkness, and to suffer continually recurring punishments in the form of disease, disappointment, and sorrow. He, therefore, who would shake himself free of the evil which encompasses him, must be willing and ready to learn, and must be prepared to undergo that disciplinary process without which no grain of wisdom or abiding happiness and peace can be secured. A man may shut himself up in a dark room, and deny that the light exists, but it is everywhere without, and darkness exists only in his own little room. So you may shut out the light of Truth, or you may begin to pull down the walls of prejudice, self- seeking and error which you have built around yourself, and so let in the glorious and omnipresent Light. By earnest self-examination strive to realize, and not merely hold as a theory, that evil is a passing phase, a self-created shadow; that all your pains, sorrows and misfortunes have come to you by a process of undeviating and absolutely perfect law; have come to you because you deserve and require them, and that by first enduring, and then understanding them, you may be made stronger, wiser, nobler. When you have fully entered into this realization, you will be in a position to mould your own circumstances, to transmute all evil into good and to weave, with a master hand, the fabric of your destiny. What of the night, O Watchman! see‘st thou yet The glimmering dawn upon the mountain heights, The golden Herald of the Light of lights, Are his fair feet upon the hilltops set?
  • 40. Cometh he yet to chase away the gloom, And with it all the demons of the Night? Strike yet his darting rays upon thy sight? Hear‘st thou his voice, the sound of error‘s doom? The Morning cometh, lover of the Light; Even now He gilds with gold the mountain‘s brow, Dimly I see the path whereon even now His shining feet are set toward the Night. Darkness shall pass away, and all the things That love the darkness, and that hate the Light Shall disappear for ever with the Night: Rejoice! for thus the speeding Herald sings. 2. The world a reflex of mental states What you are, so is your world. Everything in the universe is resolved into your own inward experience. It matters little what is without, for it is all a reflection of your own state of consciousness. It matters everything what you are within, for everything without will be mirrored and colored accordingly. All that you positively know is contained in your own experience; all that you ever will know must pass through the gateway of experience, and so become part of yourself. Your own thoughts, desires, and aspirations comprise your world, and, to you, all that there is in the universe of beauty and joy and bliss, or of ugliness and sorrow and pain, is contained within yourself. By your own thoughts you make or mar your life, your world, your universe, As you build within by the power of thought, so will your outward life and circumstances shape themselves accordingly. Whatsoever you harbor in the inmost chambers of your heart will, sooner or later by the inevitable law of reaction, shape itself in your outward life. The soul that is impure, sordid and selfish, is gravitating with unerring precision toward misfortune and catastrophe; the soul that is pure, unselfish, and noble is gravitating with equal precision toward happiness and prosperity. Every soul attracts its own, and nothing can possibly come to it that does not belong to it. To realize this is to recognize the universality of Divine Law. The incidents of every human life, which both make and mar, are drawn to it by the quality and power of its own inner thought-life. Every soul is a complex combination of gathered experiences and thoughts, and the body is but an improvised vehicle for its manifestation. What, therefore, your thoughts are, that is your real self; and the world around, both animate and inanimate, wears the aspect with which your thoughts clothe it. ―All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts.‖ Thus said Buddha, and it therefore follows that if a man is happy, it is because he dwells in happy thoughts; if miserable, because he dwells in despondent and debilitating thoughts, Whether one be fearful or fearless, foolish or wise, troubled or serene, within that soul lies the cause of its own state or states, and never without. And now I seem to hear a chorus of voices exclaim, ―But do
  • 41. you really mean to say that outward circumstances do not affect our minds?‖ I do not say that, but I say this, and know it to be an infallible truth, that circumstances can only affect you in so far as you allow them to do so. You are swayed by circumstances because you have not a right understanding of the nature, use, and power of thought. You believe (and upon this little word belief hang all our sorrows and joys) that outward things have the power to make or mar your life; by so doing you submit to those outward things, confess that you are their slave, and they your unconditional master; by so doing, you invest them with a power which they do not, of themselves, possess, and you succumb, in reality, not to the mere circumstances, but to the gloom or gladness, the fear or hope, the strength or weakness, which your thought-sphere has thrown around them. I knew two men who, at an early age, lost the hard-earned savings of years. One was very deeply troubled, and gave way to chagrin, worry, and despondency. The other, on reading in his morning paper that the bank in which his money was deposited had hopelessly failed, and that he had lost all, quietly and firmly remarked, ‗‘Well, it‘s gone, and trouble and worry won‘t bring it back, but hard work will.‖ He went to work with renewed vigor, and rapidly became prosperous, while the former man, continuing to mourn the loss of his money, and to grumble at his ‗‘bad luck,‖ remained the sport and tool of adverse circumstances, in reality of his own weak and slavish thoughts. The loss of money was a curse to the one because he clothed the event with dark and dreary thoughts; it was a blessing to the other, because he threw around it thoughts of strength, of hope, and renewed endeavor. If circumstances had the power to bless or harm, they would bless and harm all men alike, but the fact that the same circumstances will be alike good and bad to different souls proves that the good or bad is not in the circumstance, but only in the mind of him that encounters it. When you begin to realize this you will begin to control your thoughts, to regulate and discipline your mind, and to rebuild the inward temple of your soul, eliminating all useless and superfluous material, and incorporating into your being thoughts alone of joy and serenity, of strength and life, of compassion and love, of beauty and immortality; and as you do this you will become joyful and serene, strong and healthy, compassionate and loving, and beautiful with the beauty of immortality. And as we clothe events with the drapery of our own thoughts, so likewise do we clothe the objects of the visible world around us, and where one sees harmony and beauty, another sees revolting ugliness. An enthusiastic naturalist was one day roaming the country lanes in pursuit of his hobby, and during his rambles came upon a pool of brackish water near a farmyard. As he proceeded to fill a small bottle with the water for the purpose of examination under the microscope, he dilated, with more enthusiasm than discretion, to an uncultivated son of the plough who stood close by, upon the hidden and innumerable wonders contained in the pool, and concluded by saying, ‗‘Yes, my friend, within this pool is contained a hundred, nay, a million universes, had we but the sense or the instrument by which we could apprehend them.‖ And the unsophisticated one ponderously remarked, "I know the water be full o‘ tadpoles, but they be easy to catch.‖ Where the naturalist, his mind stored with the knowledge of natural facts, saw beauty, harmony, and hidden glory, the mind unenlightened upon those things saw only an offensive mud-puddle. The wild flower which the casual wayfarer thoughtlessly tramples upon is, to the spiritual eye of the
  • 42. poet, an angelic messenger from the invisible. To the many, the ocean is but a dreary expanse of water on which ships sail and are sometimes wrecked; to the soul of the musician it is a living thing, and he hears, in all its changing moods, divine harmonies. Where the ordinary mind sees disaster and confusion, the mind of the philosopher sees the most perfect sequence of cause and effect, and where the materialist sees nothing but endless death, the mystic sees pulsating and eternal life. And as we clothe both events and objects with our own thoughts, so likewise do we clothe the souls of others in the garments of our thoughts. The suspicious believe everybody to be suspicious; the Liar feels secure in the thought that he is not so foolish as to believe that there is such a phenomenon as a strictly truthful person; the envious see envy in every soul; the miser thinks everybody is eager to get his money; he who has subordinated conscience in the making of his wealth, sleeps with a revolver under his pillow, wrapped in the delusion that the world is full of conscienceless people who are eager to rob him, and the abandoned sensualist looks upon the saint as a hypocrite. On the other hand, those who dwell in loving thoughts, see that in all which calls forth their love and sympathy; the trusting and honest are not troubled by suspicions; the good-natured and charitable who rejoice at the good fortune of others, scarcely know what envy means; and he who has realized the Divine within himself recognizes it in all beings, even in the beasts. And men and women are confirmed in their mental outlook because of the fact that, by the law of cause and effect, they attract to themselves that which they send forth, and so come in contact with people similar to themselves. The old adage, ―Birds of a feather flock together,‖ has a deeper significance than is generally attached to it, for in the thought-world as in the world of matter, each clings to its kind. Do you wish for kindness? Be kind. Do you ask for truth? Be true. What you give of yourself you find; Your world is a reflex of you. If you are one of those who are praying for, and looking forward to, a happier world beyond the grave, here is a message of gladness for you, you may enter into and realize that happy world now; it fills the whole universe, and it is within you, waiting for you to find, acknowledge, and possess. Said one who knew the inner laws of Being,‖ When men shall say Io here, or Io there, go not after them; the kingdom of God is within you.‖ What you have to do is to believe this, simply believe it with a mind unshadowed by doubt, and then meditate upon it till you understand it. You will then begin to purify and to build your inner world, and as you proceed, passing from revelation to revelation, from realization to realization, you will discover the utter powerlessness of outward things beside the magic potency of a self-governed soul. If thou would‘st right the world, And banish all its evils and its woes, Make its wild places bloom, And its drear deserts blossom as the rose,-
  • 43. Then right thyself. If thou would‘st turn the world From its long, lone captivity in sin, Restore all broken hearts, Slay grief, and let sweet consolation in,- Turn thou thyself. If thou would‘st cure the world Of its long sickness, end its grief and pain; Bring in all-healing joy, And give to the afflicted rest again,- Then cure thyself. If thou would‘st wake the world Out of its dream of death and dark‘ning strife, Bring it to Love and Peace, And Light and brightness of immortal Life,- Wake thou thyself. 3. The way out of undesirable conditions Having seen and realized that evil is but a passing shadow thrown, by the intercepting self, across the transcendent Form of the Eternal Good, and that the world is a mirror in which each sees a reflection of himself, we now ascend, by firm and easy steps, to that plane of perception whereon is seen and realized the Vision of the Law. With this realization comes the knowledge that everything is included in a ceaseless interaction of cause and effect, and that nothing can possibly be divorced from law. From the most trivial thought, word, or act of man, up to the groupings of the celestial bodies, law reigns supreme. No arbitrary condition can, even for one moment, exist, for such a condition would be a denial and an annihilation of law. Every condition of life is, therefore, bound up in an orderly and harmonious sequence, and the secret and cause of every condition is contained within itself, The law, ―Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap,‖ is inscribed in flaming letters upon the portal of Eternity, and none can deny it, none can cheat it, none can escape it. He who puts his hand in the fire must suffer the burning until such time as it has worked itself out, and neither curses nor prayers can avail to alter it. And precisely the same law governs the realm of mind. Hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, lust, covetousness, all these are fires which bum, and whoever even so much as touches them must suffer the torments of burning. All these conditions of mind are rightly called ―evil,‖ for they are the efforts of the soul to subvert, in its ignorance, the law, an they, therefore, lead to chaos and confusion within, and are sooner or later actualized in the outward circumstances as disease, failure, and misfortune, coupled with grief, pain, and despair. Whereas love, gentleness, good-will, purity, are cooling airs which breathe peace upon the soul that woes them, and, being in harmony with the Eternal Law, they become actualized in the form of health,
  • 44. peaceful surroundings, and undeviating success and good fortune. A thorough understanding of this Great Law which permeates the universe leads to the acquirement of that state of mind known as obedience. To know that justice, harmony, and love are supreme in the universe is likewise to know that all adverse and painful conditions are the result of our own disobedience to that Law. Such knowledge leads to strength and power, and it is upon such knowledge alone that a true life and an enduring success and happiness can be built. To be patient under all circumstances, and to accept all conditions as necessary factors in your training, is to rise superior to all painful conditions, and to overcome them with an overcoming which is sure, and which leaves no fear of their return, for by the power of obedience to law they are utterly slain. Such an obedient one is working in harmony with the law, has in fact, identified himself with the law, and whatsoever he conquers he conquers for ever, whatsoever he builds can never be destroyed. The cause of all power, as of all weakness, is within; the secret of all happiness as of all misery is likewise within. There is no progress apart from unfoldment within, and no sure foothold of prosperity or peace except by orderly advancement in knowledge. You say you are chained by circumstances; you cry out for better opportunities, for a wider scope, for improved physical conditions, and perhaps you inwardly curse the fate that binds you hand and foot. It is for you that I write; it is to you that I speak. Listen, and let my words burn themselves into your heart, for that which I say to you is truth: You may bring about that improved condition in your outward life which you desire, if you will unswervingly resolve to improve your inner life. I know this pathway looks barren at its commencement (truth always does, it is only error and delusion which are at first inviting and fascinating,) but if you undertake to walk it; if you perseveringly discipline your mind, eradicating your weaknesses, and allowing your soul-forces and spiritual powers to unfold themselves, you will be astonished at the magical changes which will be brought about in your outward life. As you proceed, golden opportunities will be strewn across your path, and the power and judgment to properly utilize them will spring up within you. Genial friends will come unbidden to you; sympathetic souls will be drawn to you as the needle is to the magnet; and books and all outward aids that you require will come to you unsought. Perhaps the chains of poverty hang heavily upon you, and you are friendless and alone, and you long with an intense longing that your load may be lightened; but the load continues, and you seem to be enveloped in an ever-increasing darkness. Perhaps you complain, you bewail your lot; you blame your birth, your parents, your employer, or the unjust Powers who have bestowed upon you so undeservedly poverty and hardship, and upon another affluence and ease. Cease your complaining and fretting; none of these things which you blame are the cause of your poverty; the cause is within yourself, and where the cause is, there is the remedy. The very fact that you are a complainer, shows that you deserve your lot; shows that you lack that faith which is the ground of all effort and progress.
  • 45. There is no room for a complainer in a universe of law, and worry is soul-suicide. By your very attitude of mind you are strengthening the chains which bind you, and are drawing about you the darkness by which you are enveloped, Alter your outlook upon life, and your outward life will alter. Build yourself up in the faith and knowledge, and make yourself worthy of better surroundings and wider opportunities. Be sure, first of all, that you are making the best of what you have. Do not delude yourself into supposing that you can step into greater advantages whilst overlooking smaller ones, for if you could, the advantage would be impermanent and you would quickly fall back again in order to learn the lesson which you had neglected. As the child at school must master one standard before passing onto the next, so, before you can have that greater good which you so desire, must you faithfully employ that which you already possess. The parable of the talents is a beautiful story illustrative of this truth, for does it not plainly show that if we misuse, neglect, or degrade that which we possess, be it ever so mean and insignificant, even that little will be taken from us, for, by our conduct we show that we are unworthy of it. Perhaps you are living in a small cottage, and are surrounded by unhealthy and vicious influences. You desire a larger and more sanitary residence. Then you must fit yourself for such a residence by first of all making your cottage as far as possible a little paradise. Keep it spotlessly clean. Make it look as pretty and sweet as your limited means will allow. Cook your plain food with all care, and arrange your humble table as tastefully as you possibly can. If you cannot afford a carpet, let your rooms be carpeted with smiles and welcomes, fastened down with the nails of kind words driven in with the hammer of patience. Such a carpet will not fade in the sun, and constant use will never wear it away. By so ennobling your present surroundings you will rise above them, and above the need of them, and at the right time you will pass on into the better house and surroundings which have all along been waiting for you, and which you have fitted yourself to occupy. Perhaps you desire more time for thought and effort, and feel that your hours of labor are too hard and long. Then see to it that you are utilizing to the fullest possible extent what little spare time you have. It is useless to desire more time, if you are already wasting what little you have; for you would only grow more indolent and indifferent. Even poverty and lack of time and leisure are not the evils that you imagine they are, and if they hinder you in your progress, it is because you have clothed them in your own weaknesses, and the evil that you see in them is really in yourself. Endeavor to fully and completely realize that in so far as you shape and mould your mind, you are the maker of your destiny, and as, by the transmuting power of self-discipline you realize this more and more, you will come to see that these so-called evils may be converted into blessings. You will then utilize your poverty for the cultivation of patience, hope and courage; and your lack of time in the gaining of promptness of action and decision of mind, by seizing the precious moments as they present themselves for your acceptance. As in the rankest soil the most beautiful flowers are grown, so in the dark soil of poverty the choicest flowers of humanity have developed and bloomed. Where there are difficulties to cope with, and unsatisfactory conditions to overcome, there virtue most flourishes and manifests its glory. It may be that you are in the employ of a tyrannous master or mistress, and you feel that you are
  • 46. harshly treated. Look upon this also as necessary to your training. Return your employer‘s unkindness with gentleness and forgiveness. Practice unceasingly patience and self-control. Turn the disadvantage to account by utilizing it for the gaining of mental and spiritual strength, and by your silent example and influence you will thus be teaching your employer, will be helping him to grow ashamed of his conduct, and will, at the same time, be lifting yourself up to that height of spiritual attainment by which you will be enabled to step into new and more congenial surroundings at the time when they are presented to you. Do not complain that you are a slave, but lift yourself up, by noble conduct, above the plane of slavery. Before complaining that you are a slave to another, be sure that you are not a slave to self. Look within; look searchingly, and have no mercy upon yourself. You will find there, perchance, slavish thoughts, slavish desires, and in your daily life and conduct slavish habits. Conquer these; cease to be a slave to self, and no man will have the power to enslave you. As you overcome self, you will overcome all adverse conditions, and every difficulty will fall before you. Do not complain that you are oppressed by the rich. Are you sure that if you gained riches you would not be an oppressor yourself? Remember that there is the Eternal Law which is absolutely just, and that he who oppresses today must himself be oppressed tomorrow; and from this there is no way of escape. And perhaps you, yesterday (in some former existence) were rich and an oppressor, and that you are now merely paying off the debt which you owe to the Great Law. Practice, therefore, fortitude and faith. Dwell constantly in mind upon the Eternal justice, the Eternal Good. Endeavor to lift yourself above the personal and the transitory into the impersonal and permanent. Shake off the delusion that you are being injured or oppressed by another, and try to realize, by a profounder comprehension of your inner life, and the laws which govern that life, that you are only really injured by what is within you. There is no practice more degrading, debasing, and soul- destroying than that of self-pity. Cast it out from you. While such a canker is feeding upon your heart you can never expect to grow into a fuller life. Cease from the condemnation of others, and begin to condemn yourself. Condone none of your acts, desires or thoughts that will not bear comparison with spotless purity, or endure the light of sinless good. By so doing you will be building your house upon the rock of the Eternal, and all that is required for your happiness and well-being will come to you in its own time. There is positively no way of permanently rising above poverty, or any undesirable condition, except by eradicating those selfish and negative conditions within, of which these are the reflection, and by virtue of which they continue. The way to true riches is to enrich the soul by the acquisition of virtue. Outside of real heart-virtue there is neither prosperity nor power, but only the appearances of these. I am aware that men make money who have acquired no measure of virtue, and have little desire to do so; but such money does not constitute true riches, and its possession is transitory and feverish. Here is David‘s testimony:- For I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked...... Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish. -Verily I have
  • 47. cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence... When I thought to know this it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I their end.‖ The prosperity of the wicked was a great trial to David until he went into the sanctuary of God, and then he knew their end. You likewise may go into that sanctuary. It is within you. It is that state of consciousness which remains when all that is sordid, and personal, and impermanent is risen above, and universal and eternal principles are realized. That is the God state of consciousness; it is the sanctuary of the Most High. When by long strife and self-discipline, you have succeeded in entering the door of that holy Temple, you will perceive, with unobstructed vision, the end and fruit of all human thought and endeavor, both good and evil. You will then no longer relax your faith when you see the immoral man accumulating outward riches, for you will know, that he must come again to poverty and degradation. The rich man who is barren of virtue is, in reality, poor, and as surely, as the waters of the river are drifting to the ocean, so surely is he, in the midst of all his riches, drifting towards poverty and misfortune; and though he die rich, yet must he return to reap the bitter fruit of all of his immorality. And though he become rich many times, yet as many times must he be thrown back into poverty, until, by long experience and suffering he conquers the poverty within. But the man who is outwardly poor, yet rich in virtue, is truly rich, and, in the midst of all his poverty he is surely traveling towards prosperity; and abounding joy and bliss await his coming. If you would become truly and permanently prosperous, you must first become virtuous. It is therefore unwise to aim directly at prosperity, to make it the one object of life, to reach out greedily for it, To do this is to ultimately defeat yourself. But rather aim at self-perfection, make useful and unselfish service the object of your life, and ever reach out hands of faith towards the supreme and unalterable Good. You say you desire wealth, not for your own sake, but in order to do good with it, and to bless others. If this is your real motive in desiring wealth, then wealth will come to you; for you are strong and unselfish indeed if, in the midst of riches, you are willing to look upon yourself as steward and not as owner. But examine well your motive, for in the majority of instances where money is desired for the admitted object of blessing others, the real underlying motive is a love of popularity, and a desire to pose as a philanthropist or reformer. If you are not doing good with what little you have, depend upon it the more money you got the more selfish you would become, and all the good you appeared to do with your money, if you attempted to do any, would be so much insinuating self-laudation. If your real desire is to do good, there is no need to wait for money before you do it; you can do it now, this very moment, and just where you are. If you are really so unselfish as you believe yourself to be, you will show it by sacrificing yourself for others now. No matter how poor you are, there is room for self-sacrifice, for did not the widow put her all into the treasury? The heart that truly desires to do good does not wait for money before doing it, but comes to the altar of sacrifice and, leaving there the unworthy elements of self, goes out and breathes upon neighbor and stranger, friend and enemy alike the breath of blessedness.
  • 48. As the effect is related to the cause, so is prosperity and power related to the inward good and poverty and weakness to the inward evil. Money does not constitute true wealth, nor position, nor power, and to rely upon it alone is to stand upon a slippery place. Your true wealth is your stock of virtue, and your true power the uses to which you put it. Rectify your heart, and you will rectify your life. Lust, hatred, anger, vanity, pride, covetousness, self-indulgence, self-seeking, obstinacy,- all these are poverty and weakness; whereas love, purity, gentleness, meekness, compassion, generosity, self-forgetfulness, and self-renunciation,- all these are wealth and power. As the elements of poverty and weakness are overcome, an irresistible and allconquering power is evolved from within, and he who succeeds in establishing himself in the highest virtue, brings the whole world to his feet. But the rich, as well as the poor, have their undesirable conditions, and are frequently farther removed from happiness than the poor. And here we see how happiness depends, not upon outward aids or possessions, but upon the inward life. Perhaps you are an employer, and you have endless trouble with those whom you employ, and when you do get good and faithful servants they quickly leave you. As a result you are beginning to lose, or have completely lost, your faith in human nature. You try to remedy matters by giving better wages, and by allowing certain liberties, yet matters remain unaltered. Let me advise you. The secret of all your trouble is not in your servants, it is in yourself; and if you look within, with a humble and sincere desire to discover and eradicate your error, you will, sooner or later, find the origin of all your unhappiness. It may be some selfish desire, or lurking suspicion, or unkind attitude of mind which sends out its poison upon those about you, and reacts upon yourself, even though you may not show it in your manner or speech. Think of your servants with kindness, consider of them that extremity of service which you yourself would not care to perform were you in their place. Rare and beautiful is that humility of soul by which a servant entirely forgets himself in his master‘s good; but far rarer, and beautiful with a divine beauty, is that nobility of soul by which a man, forgetting his own happiness, seeks the happiness of those who are under his authority, and who depend upon him for their bodily sustenance. And such a man‘s happiness is increased tenfold, nor does he need to complain of those whom he employs. Said a well known and extensive employer of labor, who never needs to dismiss an employee: ―I have always had the happiest relations with my workpeople. If you ask me how it is to be accounted for, I can only say that it has been my aim from the first to do to them as I would wish to be done by.‖ Herein lies the secret by which all desirable conditions are secured, and all that are undesirable are overcome. Do you say that you are lonely and unloved, and have ―not a friend in the world‖? Then, I pray you, for the sake of your own happiness, blame nobody but yourself. Be friendly towards others, and friends will soon flock round you. Make yourself pure and lovable, and you will be loved by all.
  • 49. Whatever conditions are rendering your life burdensome, you may pass out of and beyond them by developing and utilizing within you the transforming power of self-purification and self-conquest. Be it the poverty which galls (and remember that the poverty upon which I have been dilating is that poverty which is a source of misery, and not that voluntary poverty which is the glory of emancipated souls), or the riches which burden, or the many misfortunes, griefs, and annoyances which form the dark background in the web of life, you may overcome them by overcoming the selfish elements within which give them life. It matters not that by the unfailing Law, there are past thoughts and acts to work out and to atone for, as, by the same law, we are setting in motion, during every moment of our life, fresh thoughts and acts, and we have the power to make them good or ill. Nor does it follow that if a man (reaping what he has sown) must lose money or forfeit position, that he must also lose his fortitude or forfeit his uprightness, and it is in these that his wealth and power and happiness are to be found. He who clings to self is his own enemy and is surrounded by enemies. He who relinquishes self is his own savior, and is surrounded by friends like a protecting belt. Before the divine radiance of a pure heart all darkness vanishes and all clouds melt away, and he who has conquered self has conquered the universe. Come, then, out of your poverty; come out of your pain; come out of your troubles, and sighings, and complainings, and heartaches, and loneliness by coming out of yourself. Let the old tattered garment of your petty selfishness fall from you, and put on the new garment of universal Love. You will then realize the inward heaven, and it will be reflected in all your outward life. He who sets his foot firmly upon the path of self-conquest, who walks, aided by the staff of Faith, the highway of self-sacrifice, will assuredly achieve the highest prosperity, and will reap abounding and enduring joy and bliss. To them that seek the highest good All things subserve the wisest ends; Nought comes as ill, and wisdom lends Wings to all shapes of evil brood. The dark‘ning sorrow veils a Star That waits to shine with gladsome light; Hell waits on heaven; and after night Comes golden glory from afar. Defeats are steps by which we climb With purer aim to nobler ends; Loss leads to gain, and joy attends True footsteps up the hills of time. Pain leads to paths of holy bliss, To thoughts and words and deeds divine-, And clouds that gloom and rays that shine, Along life‘s upward highway kiss. Misfortune does but cloud the way Whose end and summit in the sky
  • 50. Of bright success, sunkiss‘d and high, Awaits our seeking and our stay. The heavy pall of doubts and fears That clouds the Valley of our hopes, The shades with which the spirit copes, The bitter harvesting of tears, The heartaches, miseries, and griefs, The bruisings born of broken ties, All these are steps by which we rise To living ways of sound beliefs. Love, pitying, watchful, runs to meet The Pilgrim from the Land of Fate; All glory and all good await The coming of obedient feet. 4. The silent power of thought: controlling and directing one’s forces The most powerful forces in the universe are the silent forces; and in accordance with the intensity of its power does a force become beneficent when rightly directed, and destructive when wrongly employed. This is a common knowledge in regard to the mechanical forces, such as steam, electricity, etc., but few have yet learned to apply this knowledge to the realm of mind, where the thought-forces (most powerful of all) are continually being generated and sent forth as currents of salvation or destruction. At this stage of his evolution, man has entered into the possession of these forces, and the whole trend of his present advancement is their complete subjugation. All the wisdom possible to man on this material earth is to be found only in complete self-mastery, and the command, ―Love your enemies,‖ resolves itself into an exhortation to enter here and now, into the possession of that sublime wisdom by taking hold of, mastering and transmuting, those mind forces to which man is now slavishly subject, and by which he is helplessly borne, like a straw on the stream, upon the currents of selfishness. The Hebrew prophets, with their perfect knowledge of the Supreme Law, always related outward events to inward thought, and associated national disaster or success with the thoughts and desires that dominated the nation at the time. The knowledge of the causal power of thought is the basis of all their prophecies, as it is the basis of all real wisdom and power. National events are simply the working out of the psychic forces of the nation. Wars, plagues, and famines are the meeting and clashing of wrongly-directed thought-forces, the culminating points at which destruction steps in as the agent of the Law. It is foolish to ascribe war to the influence of one man, or to one body of men. It is the crowning horror of national selfishness. It is the silent and conquering thought-forces which bring all things into manifestation. The universe grew out of thought. Matter in its last analysis is found to be merely objectivized thought. All men‘s accomplishments were first wrought out in thought, and then objectivized. The author, the inventor, the architect, first builds up his work in thought, and having perfected it in all
  • 51. its parts as a complete and harmonious whole upon the thought-plane. he then commences to materialize it, to bring it down to the material or sense-plane. When the thought-forces are directed in harmony with the over-ruling Law, they are up-building and preservative, but when subverted they become disintegrating and self-destructive. To adjust all your thoughts to a perfect and unswerving faith in the omnipotence and supremacy of Good, is to co-operate with that Good, and to realize within yourself the solution and destruction of all evil. Believe and ye shall live. And here we have the true meaning of salvation; salvation from the darkness and negation of evil, by entering into, and realizing the living light of the Eternal Good. Where there is fear, worry, anxiety, doubt, trouble, chagrin, or disappointment, there is ignorance and lack of faith. All these conditions of mind are the direct outcome of selfishness, and are based upon an inherent belief in the power and supremacy of evil; they therefore constitute practical atheism; and to live in, and become subject to, these negative and soul-destroying conditions of mind is the only real atheism. It is salvation from such conditions that the race needs, and let no man boast of salvation whilst he is their helpless and obedient slave. To fear or to worry is as sinful as to curse, for how can one fear or worry if he intrinsically believes in the Eternal justice, the Omnipotent Good, the Boundless Love? To fear, to worry, to doubt, is to deny, to dis-believe. It is from such states of mind that all weakness and failure proceed, for they represent the annulling and disintegrating of the positive thought-forces which would otherwise speed to their object with power, and bring about their own beneficent results. To overcome these negative conditions is to enter into a life of power, is to cease to be a slave, and to become a master, and there is only one way by which they can be overcome, and that is by steady and persistent growth in inward knowledge. To mentally deny evil is not sufficient; it must, by daily practice, be risen above and understood. To mentally affirm the good is inadequate; it must, by unswerving endeavor, be entered into and comprehended. The intelligent practice of self-control, quickly leads to a knowledge of one‘s interior thought-forces, and, later on, to the acquisition of that power by which they are rightly employed and directed. In the measure that you master self, that you control your mental forces instead of being controlled by them, in just such measure will you master affairs and outward circumstances. Show me a man under whose touch everything crumbles away, and who cannot retain success even when it is placed in his hands, and I will show you a man who dwells continually in those conditions of mind which are the very negation of power. To be for ever wallowing in the bogs of doubt, to be drawn continually into the quicksands of fear, or blown ceaselessly about by the winds of anxiety, is to be a slave, and to live the life of a slave, even though success and influence be for ever knocking at your door seeking for admittance. Such a man, being without faith and without self-government, is incapable of the right government of his affairs, and is a slave to circumstances; in reality a slave to himself. Such are taught by affliction, and ultimately pass from weakness to strength by the stress of bitter experience. Faith and purpose constitute the motive- power of life.
  • 52. There is nothing that a strong faith and an unflinching purpose may not accomplish. By the daily exercise of silent faith, the thought-forces are gathered together, and by the daily strengthening of silent purpose, those forces are directed toward the object of accomplishment. Whatever your position in life may be, before you can hope to enter into any measure of success, usefulness, and power, you must learn how to focus your thought-forces by cultivating calmness and repose. It may be that you are a business man, and you are suddenly confronted with some overwhelming difficulty or probable disaster. You grow fearful and anxious, and are at your wit‘s end. To persist in such a state of mind would be fatal, for when anxiety steps in, correct judgment passes out. Now if you will take advantage of a quiet hour or two in the early morning or at night, and go away to some solitary spot, or to some room in your house where you know you will be absolutely free from intrusion, and, having seated yourself in an easy attitude, you forcibly direct your mind right away from the object of anxiety by dwelling upon something in your life that is pleasing and blissgiving, a calm, reposeful strength will gradually steal into your mind, and your anxiety will pass away. Upon the instant that you find your mind reverting to the lower plane of worry bring it back again, and re-establish it on the plane of peace and strength. When this is fully accomplished, you may then concentrate your whole mind upon the solution of your difficulty, and what was intricate and insurmountable to you in your hour of anxiety will be made plain and easy, and you will see, with that clear vision and perfect judgment which belong only to a calm and untroubled mind, the right course to pursue and the proper end to be brought about. It may be that you will have to try day after day before you will be able to perfectly calm your mind, but if you persevere you will certainly accomplish it. And the course which is presented to you in that hour of calmness must be carried out. Doubtless when you are again involved in the business of the day, and worries again creep in and begin to dominate you, you will begin to think that the course is a wrong or foolish one, but do not heed such suggestions. Be guided absolutely and entirely by the vision of calmness, and not by the shadows of anxiety. The hour of calmness is the hour of illumination and correct judgment. By such a course of mental discipline the scattered thought-forces are re-united, and directed, like the rays of the search-light, upon the problem at issue, with the result that it gives way before them. There is no difficulty, however great, but will yield before a calm and powerful concentration of thought, and no legitimate object but may be speedily actualized by the intelligent use and direction of one‘s soul-forces. Not until you have gone deeply and searchingly into your inner nature, and have overcome many enemies that lurk there, can you have any approximate conception of the subtle power of thought, of its inseparable relation to outward and material things, or of its magical potency, when rightly poised and directed, in readjusting and transforming the life-conditions. Every thought you think is a force sent out, and in accordance with its nature and intensity will it go out to seek a lodgment in minds receptive to it, and will react upon yourself for good or evil. There is ceaseless reciprocity between mind and mind, and a continual interchange of thought-forces. Selfish and disturbing thoughts are so many malignant and destructive forces, messengers of evil, sent out to stimulate and augment the evil in other minds, which in turn send them back upon you with added power. While thoughts that are calm, pure, and unselfish are so many angelic messengers sent out into the
  • 53. world with health, healing, and blessedness upon their wings, counteracting the evil forces; pouring the oil of joy upon the troubled waters of anxiety and sorrow, and restoring to broken hearts their heritage of immortality. Think good thoughts, and they will quickly become actualized in your outward life in the form of good conditions. Control your soul-forces, and you will be able to shape your outward life as you will. The difference between a savior and a sinner is this, that the one has a perfect control of all the forces within him; the other is dominated and controlled by them. There is absolutely no other way to true power and abiding peace, but by self-control, self-government, self-purification. To be at the mercy of your disposition is to be impotent, unhappy, and of little real use in the world. The conquest of your petty likes and dislikes, your capricious loves and hates, your fits of anger, suspicion, jealousy, and all the changing moods to which you are more or less helplessly subject, this is the task you have before you if you would weave into the web of life the golden threads of happiness and prosperity. In so far as you are enslaved by the changing moods within you, will you need to depend upon others and upon outward aids as you walk through life. If you would walk firmly and securely, and would accomplish any achievement, you must learn to rise above and control all such disturbing and retarding vibrations. You must daily practice the habit of putting your mind at rest, ―going into the silence,‖ as it is commonly called. This is a method of replacing a troubled thought with one of peace, a thought of weakness with one of strength. Until you succeed in doing this you cannot hope to direct your mental forces upon the problems and pursuits of life with any appreciable measure of success. It is a process of diverting one‘s scattered forces into one powerful channel. Just as a useless marsh may be converted into a field of golden corn or a fruitful garden by draining and directing the scattered and harmful streams into one wellcut channel, so, he who acquires calmness, and subdues and directs the thoughtcurrents within himself, saves his soul, and fructifies his heart and life. As you succeed in gaining mastery over your impulses and thoughts you will begin to feel, growing up within you, a new and silent power, and a settled feeling of composure and strength will remain with you. Your latent powers will begin to unfold themselves, and whereas formerly your efforts were weak and ineffectual, you will now be able to work with that calm confidence which commands success. And along with this new power and strength, there will be awakened within you that interior Illumination known as ―intuition,‖ and you will walk no longer in darkness and speculation, but in light and certainty. With the development of this soul-vision, judgment and mental penetration will be incalculably increased, and there will evolve within you that prophetic vision by the aid of which you will be able to sense coming events, and to forecast, with remarkable accuracy, the result of your efforts. And in just the measure that you alter from within will your outlook upon life alter; and as you alter your mental attitude towards others they will alter in their attitude and conduct toward you. As you rise above the lower, debilitating, and destructive thought-forces, you will come in contact with the positive, strengthening, and up-building currents generated by strong, pure, and noble minds, your
  • 54. happiness will be immeasurably intensified, and you will begin to realize the joy, strength, and power, which are born only of self-mastery. And this joy, strength, and power will be continually radiating from you, and without any effort on your part, nay, though you are utterly unconscious of it, strong people will be drawn toward you, influence will be put into your hands, and in accordance with your altered thought-world will outward events shape themselves. ―A man‘s foes are they of his own household,‖ and he who would be useful, strong, and happy, must cease to be a passive receptacle for the negative, beggardly, and impure streams of thought; and as a wise householder commands his servants and invites his guests, so must he learn to command his desires, and to say, with authority, what thoughts he shall admit into the mansion of his soul. Even a very partial success in self-mastery adds greatly to one‘s power, and he who succeeds in perfecting this divine accomplishment, enters into possession of undreamed-of wisdom and inward strength and peace, and realizes that all the forces of the universe aid and protect his footsteps who is master of his soul. Would you scale the highest heaven, Would you pierce the lowest hell, Live in dreams of constant beauty, Or in basest thinkings dwell. For your thoughts are heaven above you, And your thoughts are hell below, Bliss is not, except in thinking, Torment nought but thought can know. Worlds would vanish but for thinking; Glory is not but in dreams; And the Drama of the ages From the Thought Eternal streams. Dignity and shame and sorrow, Pain and anguish, love and hate Are but maskings of the mighty Pulsing Thought that governs Fate. As the colors of the rainbow Makes the one uncolored beam, So the universal changes Make the One Eternal Dream. And the Dream is all within you, And the Dreamer waiteth long For the Morning to awake him To the living thought and strong. That shall make the ideal real, Make to vanish dreams of hell In the highest, holiest heaven
  • 55. Where the pure and perfect dwell. Evil is the thought that thinks it; Good, the thought that makes it so Light and darkness, sin and pureness Likewise out of thinking grow. Dwell in thought upon the Grandest, And the Grandest you shall see ; Fix your mind upon the Highest, And the Highest you shall be. 5. The secret of health, success and power We all remember with what intense delight, as children, we listened to the nevertiring fairy-tale. How eagerly we followed the fluctuating fortunes of the good boy or girl, ever protected, in the hour of crisis, from the evil machinations of the scheming witch, the cruel giant, or the wicked king. And our little hearts never faltered for the fate of the hero or heroine, nor did we doubt their ultimate triumph over all their enemies, for we knew that the fairies were infallible, and that they would never desert those who had consecrated themselves to the good and the true. And what unspeakable joy pulsated within us when the Fairy-Queen, bringing all her magic to bear at the critical moment, scattered all the darkness and trouble, and granted them the complete satisfaction of all their hopes, and they were ―happy ever after.‖ With the accumulating years, and an ever-increasing intimacy with the so-called ―realities‖ of life, our beautiful fairy-world became obliterated, and its wonderful inhabitants were relegated, in the archives of memory, to the shadowy and unreal. And we thought we were wise and strong in thus leaving for ever the land of childish dreams, but as we re-become little children in the wondrous world of wisdom, we shall return again to the inspiring dreams of childhood and find that they are, after all, realities. The fairy-folk, so small and nearly always invisible, yet possessed of an all-conquering and magical power, who bestow upon the good, health, wealth, and happiness, along with all the gifts of nature in lavish profusion, start again into reality and become immortalized in the soul-realm of him who, by growth in wisdom, has entered into a knowledge of the power of thought, and the laws which govern the inner world of being. To him the fairies live again as thought-people, thought-messengers, thoughtpowers working in harmony with the over-ruling Good. And they who, day by day, endeavor to harmonize their hearts with the heart of the Supreme Good, do in reality acquire true health, wealth, and happiness. There is no protection to compare with goodness, and by ―goodness‖ I do not mean a mere outward conformity to the rules of morality; I mean pure thought, noble aspiration, unselfish love, and freedom from vainglory. To dwell continually in good thoughts, is to throw around oneself a psychic atmosphere of sweetness and power which leaves its impress upon all who come in contact with it. As the rising sun puts to rout the helpless shadows, so are all the impotent forces of evil put to flight by the searching rays of positive thought which shine forth from a heart made strong in purity and faith. Where there is sterling faith and uncompromising purity there is health, there is success, there is power.
  • 56. In such a one, disease, failure, and disaster can find no lodgment, for there is nothing on which they can feed. Even physical conditions are largely determined by mental states, and to this truth the scientific world is rapidly being drawn. The old, materialistic belief that a man is what his body makes him, is rapidly passing away, and is being replaced by the inspiring belief that man is superior to his body, and that his body is what he makes it by the power of thought. Men everywhere are ceasing to believe that a man is despairing because he is dyspeptic, and are coming to understand that he is dyspeptic because he is despairing, and in the near future, the fact that all disease has its origin in the mind will become common knowledge. There is no evil in the universe but has its root and origin in the mind, and sin, sickness, sorrow, and affliction do not, in reality, belong to the universal order, are not inherent in the nature of things, but are the direct outcome of our ignorance of the right relations of things. According to tradition, there once lived, in India, a school of philosophers who led a life of such absolute purity and simplicity that they commonly reached the age of one hundred and fifty years, and to fall sick was looked upon by them as an unpardonable disgrace, for it was considered to indicate a violation of law. The sooner we realize and acknowledge that sickness, far from being the arbitrary visitation of an offended God, or the test of an unwise Providence, is the result of our own error or sin, the sooner shall we enter upon the highway of health. Disease comes to those who attract it, to those whose minds and bodies are receptive to it, and flees from those whose strong, pure, and positive thought-sphere generates healing and life-giving currents. If you are given to anger, worry, jealousy, greed, or any other inharmonious state of mind, and expect perfect physical health, you are expecting the impossible, for you are continually sowing the seeds of disease in your mind. Such conditions of mind are carefully shunned by the wise man, for he knows them to be far more dangerous than a bad drain or an infected house. If you would be free from all physical aches and pains, and would enjoy perfect physical harmony, then put your mind in order, and harmonize your thoughts. Think joyful thoughts; think loving thoughts; let the elixir of goodwill course through your veins, and you will need no other medicine. Put away your jealousies, your suspicions, your worries, your hatreds, your selfish indulgences, and you will put away your dyspepsia, your biliousness, your nervousness and aching joints. If you will persist in clinging to these debilitating and demoralizing habits of mind, then do not complain when your body is laid low with sickness. The following story illustrates the close relation that exists between habits of mind and bodily conditions. A certain man was afflicted with a painful disease, and he tried one physician after another, but all to no purpose. He then visited towns which were famous for their curative waters, and after having bathed in them all, his disease was more painful than ever. One night he dreamed that a Presence came to him and said, ―Brother, hast thou tried all the means of cure?‖ and he replied, ―I have tried all.‖ ―Nay,‖ said the Presence, ―Come with me, and I will show thee a healing bath which has escaped thy notice.‖ The afflicted man followed, and the Presence led him to a clear pool of water, and said, ―Plunge thyself in this water and thou shalt surely recover,‖ and thereupon vanished.
  • 57. The man plunged into the water, and on coming out, Io! his disease had left him, and at the same moment he saw written above the pool the word ―Renounce.‖ Upon waking, the fall meaning of his dream flashed across his mind, and looking within he discovered that he had, all along, been a victim to a sinful indulgence, and he vowed that he would renounce it for ever. He carried out his vow, and from that day his affliction began to leave him, and in a short time he was completely restored to health. Many people complain that they have broken down through over-work. In the majority of such cases the breakdown is more frequently the result of foolishly wasted energy. If you would secure health you must learn to work without friction. To become anxious or excited, or to worry over needless details is to invite a breakdown. Work, whether of brain or body, is beneficial and health-giving, and the man who can work with a steady and calm persistency, freed from all anxiety and worry, and with his mind utterly oblivious to all but the work he has in hand, will not only accomplish far more than the man who is always hurried and anxious, but he will retain his health, a boon which the other quickly forfeits. True health and true success go together, for they are inseparably intertwined in the thought-realm. As mental harmony produces bodily health, so it also leads to a harmonious sequence in the actual working out of one‘s plans. Order your thoughts and you will order your life. Pour the oil of tranquility upon the turbulent waters of the passions and prejudices, and the tempests of misfortune, howsoever they may threaten, will be powerless to wreck the barque of your soul, as it threads its way across the ocean of life. And if that barque be piloted by a cheerful and never-failing faith its course will be doubly sure, and many perils will pass it by which would other-wise attack it. By the power of faith every enduring work is accomplished. Faith in the Supreme; faith in the over- ruling Law; faith in your work, and in your power to accomplish that work, -here is the rock upon which you must build if you would achieve, if you would stand and not fall. To follow, under all circumstances, the highest promptings within you; to be always true to the divine self; to rely upon the inward Light, the inward Voice, and to pursue your purpose with a fearless and restful heart, believing that the future will yield unto you the meed of every thought and effort; knowing that the laws of the universe can never fail, and that your own will come back to you with mathematical exactitude, this is faith and the living of faith. By the power of such a faith the dark waters of uncertainty are divided, every mountain of difficulty crumbles away, and the believing soul passes on unharmed. Strive, O reader! to acquire, above everything, the priceless possession of this dauntless faith, for it is the talisman of happiness, of success, of peace, of power, of all that makes life great and superior to suffering. Build upon such a faith, and you build upon the Rock of the Eternal, and with the materials of the Eternal, and the structure that you erect will never be dissolved, for it will transcend all the accumulations of material luxuries and riches, the end of which is dust. Whether you are hurled into the depths of sorrow or lifted upon the heights of joy, ever retain your hold upon this faith, ever return to it as your rock of refuge, and keep your feet firmly planted upon its immortal and immovable base. Centered in such a faith, you will become possessed of such a spiritual strength as will shatter, like so many toys of glass, all the forces of evil that are hurled against you, and you will achieve a success such as the mere striver after worldly gain can never know or even dream of. ―If ye have faith, and
  • 58. doubt not, ye shall not only do this, ... but if ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done.‖ There are those today, men and women tabernacled in flesh and blood, who have realized this faith, who live in it and by it day by day, and who, having put it to the uttermost test, have entered into the possession of its glory and peace. Such have sent out the word of command, and the mountains of sorrow and disappointment, of mental weariness and physical pain have passed from them, and have been cast into the sea of oblivion. If you will become possessed of this faith you will not need to trouble about your success or failure, and success will come. You will not need to become anxious about results, but will work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results. I know a lady who has entered into many blissful satisfactions, and recently a friend remarked to her, ―Oh, how fortunate you are! You only have to wish for a thing, and it comes to you.‖ And it did, indeed, appear so on the surface; but in reality all the blessedness that has entered into this woman‘s life is the direct outcome of the inward state of blessedness which she has, throughout life, been cultivating and training toward perfection. Mere wishing brings nothing but disappointment; it is living that tells. The foolish wish and grumble; the wise, work and wait. And this woman had worked; worked without and within, but especially within upon heart and soul; and with the invisible hands of the spirit she had built up, with the precious stones of faith, hope, joy, devotion, and love, a fair temple of light, whose glorifying radiance was ever round about her. It beamed in her eye; it shone through her countenance; it vibrated in her voice; and all who came into her presence felt its captivating spell. And as with her, so with you. Your success, your failure, your influence, your whole life you carry about with you, for your dominant trends of thought are the determining factors in your destiny. Send forth loving, stainless, and happy thoughts, and blessings will fall into your hands, and your table will be spread with the cloth of peace. Send forth hateful, impure, and unhappy thoughts, and curses will rain down upon you, and fear and unrest will wait upon your pillow. You are the unconditional maker of your fate, be that fate what it may. Every moment you are sending forth from you the influences which will make or mar your life. Let your heart grow large and loving and unselfish, and great and lasting will be your influence and success, even though you make little money. Confine it within the narrow limits of self-interest, and even though you become a millionaire your influence and success, at the final reckoning will be found to be utterly insignificant. Cultivate, then, this pure and unselfish spirit, and combine with purity and faith, singleness of purpose, and you are evolving from within the elements, not only of abounding health and enduring success, but of greatness and power. If your present position is distasteful to you, and your heart is not in your work, nevertheless perform your duties with scrupulous diligence, and whilst resting your mind in the idea that the better position and greater opportunities are waiting for you, ever keep an active mental outlook for budding possibilities, so that when the critical moment arrives, and the new channel presents itself, you will step into it with your mind fully prepared for the undertaking, and with that intelligence and foresight which
  • 59. is born of mental discipline. Whatever your task may be, concentrate your whole mind upon it, throw into it all the energy of which you are capable. The faultless completion of small tasks leads inevitably to larger tasks. See to it that you rise by steady climbing, and you will never fall. And herein lies the secret of true power. Learn, by constant practice, how to husband your resources, and to concentrate them, at any moment, upon a given point. The foolish waste all their mental and spiritual energy in frivolity, foolish chatter, or selfish argument, not to mention wasteful physical excesses. If you would acquire overcoming power you must cultivate poise and passivity. You must be able to stand alone. All power is associated with immovability. The mountain, the massive rock, the storm- tried oak, all speak to us of power, because of their combined solitary grandeur and defiant fixity; while the shifting sand, the yielding twig, and the waving reed speak to us of weakness, because they are movable and non-resistant, and are utterly useless when detached from their fellows. He is the man of power who, when all his fellows are swayed by some emotion or passion, remains calm and unmoved. He only is fitted to command and control who has succeeded in commanding and controlling himself. The hysterical, the fearful, the thoughtless and frivolous, let such seek company, or they will fall for lack of support; but the calm, the fearless, the thoughtful, and let such seek the solitude of the forest, the desert, and the mountain-top, and to their power more power will be added, and they will more and more successfully stem the psychic currents and whirlpools which engulf mankind. Passion is not power; it is the abuse of power, the dispersion of power. Passion is like a furious storm which beats fiercely and wildly upon the embattled rock whilst power is like the rock itself, which remains silent and unmoved through it all. That was a manifestation of true power when Martin Luther, wearied with the persuasions of his fearful friends, who were doubtful as to his safety should he go to Worms, replied, ―If there were as many devils in Worms as there are tiles on the housetops I would go.‖ And when Benjamin Disraeli broke down in his first Parliamentary speech, and brought upon himself the derision of the House, that was an exhibition of germinal power when he exclaimed, ―The day will come when you will consider it an honor to listen to me.‖ When that young man, whom I knew, passing through continual reverses and misfortunes, was mocked by his friends and told to desist from further effort, and he replied, ―The time is not far distant when you will marvel at my good fortune and success,‖ he showed that he was possessed of that silent and irresistible power which has taken him over innumerable difficulties, and crowned his life with success. If you have not this power, you may acquire it by practice, and the beginning of power is likewise the beginning of wisdom. You must commence by overcoming those purposeless trivialities to which you have hitherto been a willing victim. Boisterous and uncontrolled laughter, slander and idle talk, and joking merely to raise a laugh, all these things must be put on one side as so much waste of valuable energy. St. Paul never showed his wonderful insight into the hidden laws of human progress to greater advantage than when he warned the Ephesians against ―Foolish talking and jesting which is not convenient,‖ for to dwell habitually in such practices is to destroy all spiritual power and life. As you succeed in rendering yourself impervious to such mental dissipations you will begin to understand what true power is, and you will then commence to grapple with the more powerful desires and appetites which hold your soul in bondage, and bar the way to power, and your further progress
  • 60. will then be made clear. Above all be of single aim; have a legitimate and useful purpose, and devote yourself unreservedly to it. Let nothing draw you aside ; remember that the doubleminded man is unstable in all his ways. Be eager to learn, but slow to beg. Have a thorough understanding of your work, and let it be your own; and as you proceed, ever following the inward Guide, the infallible Voice, you will pass on from victory to victory, and will rise step by step to higher resting-places, and your ever-broadening outlook will gradually reveal to you the essential beauty and purpose of life. Self-purified, health will be yours; faith-protected, success will be yours; self-governed, power will be yours, and all that you do will prosper, for, ceasing to be a disjointed unit, self-enslaved, you will be in harmony with the Great Law, working no longer against, but with, the Universal Life, the Eternal Good. And what health you gain it will remain with you; what success you achieve will be beyond all human computation, and will never pass away; and what influence and power you wield will continue to increase throughout the ages, for it will be a part of that unchangeable Principle which supports the universe. This, then, is the secret of health, -a pure heart and a well-ordered mind ; this is the secret of success, - an unfaltering faith, and a wisely-directed purpose; and to rein in, with unfaltering will, the dark steed of desire, this is the secret of power. All ways are waiting for my feet to tread, The light and dark, the living and the dead, The broad and narrow way, the high and low, The good and bad, and with quick step or slow, I now may enter any way I will, And find, by walking, which is good, which ill. And all good things my wandering feet await, If I but come, with vow inviolate, Unto the narrow, high and holy way Of heart-born purity, and therein stay; Walking, secure from him who taunts and scorns, To flowery meads, across the path of thorns. And I may stand where health, success, and power Await my coming, if, each fleeting hour, I cling to love and patience; and abide With stainlessness; and never step aside From high integrity ; so shall I see At last the land of immortality. And I may seek and find; I may achieve, I may not claim, but, losing, may retrieve. The law bends not for me, but I must bend Unto the law, if I would reach the end Of my afflictions, if I would restore My soul to Light and Life, and weep no more.
  • 61. Not mine the arrogant and selfish claim To all good things; be mine the lowly aim To seek and find, to know and comprehend, And wisdom-ward all holy footsteps wend, Nothing is mine to claim or to command, But all is mine to know and understand. 6. The secret of abounding happiness Great is the thirst for happiness, and equally great is the lack of happiness. The majority of the poor long for riches, believing that their possession would bring them supreme and lasting happiness. Many who are rich, having gratified every desire and whim, suffer from ennui and repletion, and are farther from the possession of happiness even than the very poor. If we reflect upon this state of things it will ultimately lead us to a knowledge of the all important truth that happiness is not derived from mere outward possessions, nor misery from the lack of them; for if this were so, we should find the poor always miserable, and the rich always happy, whereas the reverse is frequently the case. Some of the most wretched people whom I have known were those who were surrounded with riches and luxury, whilst some of the brightest and happiest people I have met were possessed of only the barest necessities of life. Many men who have accumulated riches have confessed that the selfish gratification which followed the acquisition of riches has robbed life of its sweetness, and that they were never so happy as when they were poor. What, then, is happiness, and how is it to be secured? Is it a figment, a delusion, and is suffering alone perennial? We shall find, after earnest observation and reflection, that all, except those who have entered the way of wisdom, believe that happiness is only to be obtained by the gratification of desire. It is this belief, rooted in the soil of ignorance, and continually watered by selfish cravings, that is the cause of all the misery in the world. And I do not limit the word desire to the grosser animal cravings; it extends to the higher psychic realm, where far more powerful, subtle, and insidious cravings hold in bondage the intellectual and refined, depriving them of all that beauty, harmony, and purity of soul whose expression is happiness. Most people will admit that selfishness is the cause of all the unhappiness in the world, but they fall under the soul-destroying delusion that it is somebody else‘s selfishness, and not their own. When you are willing to admit that all your unhappiness is the result of your own selfishness you will not be far from the gates of Paradise; but so long as you are convinced that it is the selfishness of others that is robbing you of joy, so long will you remain a prisoner in your self-created purgatory. Happiness is that inward state of perfect satisfaction which is joy and peace, and from which all desire is eliminated. The satisfaction which results from gratified desire is brief and illusionary, and is always followed by an increased demand for gratification. Desire is as insatiable as the ocean, and clamors louder and louder as its demands are attended to. It claims ever-increasing service from its deluded devotees, until at last they are struck down with physical or mental anguish, and are hurled into the purifying fires of suffering. Desire is the region of hell, and all torments are centered there.
  • 62. The giving up of desire is the realization of heaven, and all delights await the pilgrim there, I sent my soul through the invisible, Some letter of that after life to spell, And by-and-by my soul returned to me, And whispered, I myself am heaven and hell,‖ Heaven and hell are inward states. Sink into self and all its gratifications, and you sink into hell; rise above self into that state of consciousness which is the utter denial and forgetfulness of self, and you enter heaven. Self is blind, without judgment, not possessed of true knowledge, and always leads to suffering. Correct perception, unbiased judgment, and true knowledge belong only to the divine state, and only in so far as you realize this divine consciousness can you know what real happiness is. So long as you persist in selfishly seeking for your own personal happiness, so long will happiness elude you, and you will be sowing the seeds of wretchedness. In so far as you succeed in losing yourself in the service of others, in that measure will happiness come to you, and you will reap a harvest of bliss. It is in loving, not in being loved, The heart is blessed; It is in giving, not in seeking gifts, We find our quest. Whatever be thy longing or thy need, That do thou give; So shall thy soul be fed, and thou indeed Shalt truly live. Cling to self, and you cling to sorrow, relinquish self, and you enter into peace. To seek selfishly is not only to lose happiness, but even that which we believe to be the source of happiness. See how the glutton is continually looking about for a new delicacy wherewith to stimulate his deadened appetite; and how, bloated, burdened, and diseased, scarcely any food at last is eaten with pleasure. Whereas, he who has mastered his appetite, and not only does not seek, but never thinks of gustatory pleasure, finds delight in the most frugal meal. The angel-form of happiness, which men, looking through the eyes of self, imagine they see in gratified desire, when clasped is always found to be the skeleton of misery. Truly, ―He that seeketh his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life shall find it.‖ Abiding happiness will come to you when, ceasing to selfishly cling, you are willing to give up. When you are willing to lose, unreservedly, that impermanent thing which is so dear to you, and which, whether you cling to it or not, will one day be snatched from you, then you will find that that which seemed to you like a painful loss, turns out to be a supreme gain. To give up in order to gain, than this there is no greater delusion, nor no more prolific source of misery; but to be willing to yield up and to suffer loss, this is indeed the Way of Life. How is it possible to find real happiness by centering ourselves in those things which, by their very nature, must pass away? Abiding and real happiness can only be found by centering ourselves in that which is permanent.
  • 63. Rise, therefore, above the clinging to and the craving for impermanent things, and you will then enter into a consciousness of the Eternal, and as, rising above self, and by growing more and more into the spirit of purity, self-sacrifice and universal Love, you become centered in that consciousness, you will realize that happiness which has no reaction, and which can never be taken from you. The heart that has reached utter self-forgetfulness in its love for others has not only become possessed of the highest happiness but has entered into immortality, for it has realized the Divine. Look back upon your life, and you will find that the moments of supremest happiness were those in which you uttered some word, or performed some act, of compassion or self-denying love. Spiritually, happiness and harmony are, synonymous. Harmony is one phase of the Great Law whose spiritual expression is love. All selfishness is discord, and to be selfish is to be out of harmony with the Divine order. As we realize that all-embracing love which is the negation of self, we put ourselves in harmony with the divine music, the universal song, and that ineffable melody which is true happiness becomes our own. Men and women are rushing hither and thither in the blind search for happiness, and cannot find it; nor ever will until they recognize that happiness is already within them and round about them, filling the universe, and that they, in their selfish searching are shutting themselves out from it. I followed happiness to make her mine, Past towering oak and swinging ivy vine. She fled, I chased, o‘er slanting hill and dale, O‘er fields and meadows, in the purpling vale; Pursuing rapidly o‘er dashing stream. I scaled the dizzy cliffs where eagles scream; I traversed swiftly every land and M. But always happiness eluded me. Exhausted, fainting, I pursued no more, But sank to rest upon a barren shore. One came and asked for food, and one for alms I placed the bread and gold in bony palms. One came for sympathy, and one for rest; I shared with every needy one my best; When, Io! sweet Happiness, with form divine, Stood by me, whispering softly, ‗I am thine‘. These beautiful lines of Burleigh‘s express the secret of all abounding happiness. Sacrifice the personal and transient, and you rise at once into the impersonal and permanent. Give up that narrow cramped self that seeks to render all things subservient to its own petty interests, and you will enter into the company of the angels, into the very heart and essence of universal Love. Forget yourself entirely in the sorrows of others and in ministering to others, and divine happiness will emancipate you from all sorrow and suffering. ―Taking the first step with a good thought, the second with a good word, and the third with a good deed, I entered Paradise.‖ And you also may enter into Paradise by pursuing the same course. It is not beyond, it is here. It is realized only by the unselfish.
  • 64. It is known in its fullness only to the pure in heart. If you have not realized this unbounded happiness you may begin to actualize it by ever holding before you the lofty ideal of unselfish love, and aspiring towards it. Aspiration or prayer is desire turned upward. It is the soul turning toward its Divine source, where alone permanent satisfaction can be found. By aspiration the destructive forces of desire are transmuted into divine and all-preserving energy. To aspire is to make an effort to shake off the trammels of desire; it is the prodigal made wise by loneliness and suffering, returning to his Father‘s Mansion. As you rise above the sordid self; as you break, one after another, the chains that bind you, will you realize the joy of giving, as distinguished from the misery of grasping - giving of your substance; giving of your intellect; giving of the love and light that is growing within you. You will then understand that it is indeed ―more blessed to give than to receive.‖ But the giving must be of the heart without any taint of self, without desire for reward. The gift of pure love is always attended with bliss. If, after you have given, you are wounded because you are not thanked or flattered, or your name put in the paper, know then that your gift was prompted by vanity and not by love, and you were merely giving in order to get; were not really giving, but grasping. Lose yourself in the welfare of others; forget yourself in all that you do; this is the secret of abounding happiness. Ever be on the watch to guard against selfishness, and learn faithfully the divine lessons of inward sacrifice; so shall you climb the highest heights of happiness, and shall remain in the neverclouded sunshine of universal joy, clothed in the shining garment of immortality. Are you searching for the happiness that does not fade away? Are you looking for the joy that lives, and leaves no grievous day? Are you panting for the waterbrooks of Love, and Life, and Peace? Then let all dark desires depart, and selfish seeking cease. Are you ling‘ring in the paths of pain, grief-haunted, stricken sore? Are you wand‘ring in the ways that wound your weary feet the more? Are you sighing for the Resting-Place where tears and sorrows cease? Then sacrifice your selfish heart and find the Heart of Peace. 7. The realization of prosperity It is granted only to the heart that abounds with integrity, trust, generosity and love to realize true prosperity. The heart that is not possessed of these qualities cannot know prosperity, for prosperity, like happiness, is not an outward possession, but an inward realization. The greedy man may become a millionaire, but he will always be wretched, and mean, and poor, and will even consider himself outwardly poor so long as there is a man in the world who is richer than himself, whilst the upright, the open-handed and loving will realize a full and rich prosperity, even though their outward possessions may be small. He is poor who is dissatisfied; he is rich who is contented with what he has, and he is richer who is generous with what he has. When we contemplate the fact that the universe is abounding in all good things, material as well as
  • 65. spiritual, and compare it with man‘s blind eagerness to secure a few gold coins, or a few acres of dirt, it is then that we realize how dark and ignorant selfishness is; it is then that we know that self-seeking is self-destruction. Nature gives all, without reservation, and loses nothing; man, grasping all, loses everything. If you would realize true prosperity do not settle down, as many have done, into the belief that if you do right everything will go wrong. Do not allow the word ―competition‖ to shake your faith in the supremacy of righteousness. I care not what men may say about the ―laws of competition,‖ for do I not know the unchangeable Law, which shall one day put them all to rout, and which puts them to rout even now in the heart and life of the righteous man? And knowing this Law I can contemplate all dishonesty with undisturbed repose, for I know where certain destruction awaits it. Under all circumstances do that which you believe to be right, and trust the Law; trust the Divine Power that is imminent in the universe, and it will never desert you, and you will always be protected. By such a trust all your losses will be converted into gains, and all curses which threaten will be transmuted into blessings. Never let go of integrity, generosity, and love, for these, coupled with energy, will lift you into the truly prosperous state. Do not believe the world when it tells you that you must always attend to ―number one‖ first, and to others afterwards. To do this is not to think of others at all, but only of one‘s own comforts. To those who practice this the day will come when they will be deserted by all, and when they cry out in their loneliness and anguish there will be no one to hear and help them. To consider one‘s self before all others is to cramp and warp and hinder every noble and divine impulse. Let your soul expand, let your heart reach out to others in loving and generous warmth, and great and lasting will be your joy, and all prosperity will come to you. Those who have wandered from the highway of righteousness guard themselves against competition; those who always pursue the right need not to trouble about such defense. This is no empty statement, There are men today who, by the power of integrity and faith, have defied all competition, and who, without swerving in the least from their methods, when competed with, have risen steadily into prosperity, whilst those who tried to undermine them have fallen back defeated. To possess those inward qualities which constitute goodness is to be armored against all the powers of evil, and to be doubly protected in every time of trial; and to build‘ oneself up in those qualities is to build up a success which cannot be shaken, and to enter into a prosperity which will endure forever. The White Robe of the Heart Invisible Is stained with sin and sorrow, grief and pain, And all repentant pools and springs of prayer Shall not avail to wash it white again. While in the path of ignorance I walk, The stains of error will not cease to cling Defilements mark the crooked path of self, Where anguish lurks and disappointments sting. Knowledge and wisdom only can avail To purify and make my garment clean,
  • 66. For therein lie love‘s waters ; therein rests Peace undisturbed, eternal, and serene. Sin and repentance is the path of pain, Knowledge and wisdom is the path of Peace By the near way of practice I will find Where bliss begins, how pains and sorrows cease. Self shall depart, and Truth shall take its place The Changeless One, the Indivisible Shall take up His abode in me, and cleanse The White Robe of the Heart Invisible. Part II: The way of peace 1. The power of meditation Spiritual meditation is the pathway to Divinity. It is the mystic ladder which reaches from earth to heaven, from error to Truth, from pain to peace. Every saint has climbed it; every sinner must sooner or later come to it, and every weary pilgrim that turns his back upon self and the world, and sets his face resolutely toward the Father‘s Home, must plant his feet upon its golden rounds. Without its aid you cannot grow into the divine state, the divine likeness, the divine peace, and the fadeless glories and unpolluting joys of Truth will remain hidden from you. Meditation is the intense dwelling, in thought, upon an idea or theme, with the object of thoroughly comprehending it, and whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will ultimately become selfish and debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and unselfish you will surely become pure and unselfish. Tell me what that is upon which you most frequently and intensely think, that to which, in your silent hours, your soul most naturally turns, and I will tell you to what place of pain or peace you are traveling, and whether you are growing into the likeness of the divine or the bestial. There is an unavoidable tendency to become literally the embodiment of that quality upon which one most constantly thinks. Let, therefore, the object of your meditation be above and not below, so that every time you revert to it in thought you will be lifted up; let it be pure and unmixed with any selfish element; so shall your heart become purified and drawn nearer to Truth, and not defiled and dragged more hopelessly into error. Meditation, in the spiritual sense in which I am now using it, is the secret of all growth in spiritual life and knowledge. Every prophet, sage, and savior became such by the power of meditation. Buddha meditated upon the Truth until he could say, "I am the Truth." Jesus brooded upon the Divine immanence until at last he could declare, "I and my Father are One." Meditation centered upon divine realities is the very essence and soul of prayer. It is the silent reaching of the soul toward the Eternal. Mere petitionary prayer without meditation is a body without a soul, and is powerless to lift the mind and heart above sin and affliction. If you are daily praying for wisdom, for peace, for loftier purity and a fuller realization of Truth, and that for which you pray is still far from you, it means that you are praying for one thing while living out in thought and act another. If you will
  • 67. cease from such waywardness, taking your mind off those things the selfish clinging to which debars you from the possession of the stainless realities for which you pray: if you will no longer ask God to grant you that which you do not deserve, or to bestow upon you that love and compassion which you refuse to bestow upon others, but will commence to think and act in the spirit of Truth, you will day by day be growing into those realities, so that ultimately you will become one with them. He who would secure any worldly advantage must be willing to work vigorously for it, and he would be foolish indeed who, waiting with folded hands, expected it to come to him for the mere asking. Do not then vainly imagine that you can obtain the heavenly possessions without making an effort. Only when you commence to work earnestly in the Kingdom of Truth will you be allowed to partake of the Bread of Life, and when you have, by patient and uncomplaining effort, earned the spiritual wages for which you ask, they will not be withheld from you. If you really seek Truth, and not merely your own gratification; if you love it above all worldly pleasures and gains; more, even, than happiness itself, you will be willing to make the effort necessary for its achievement. If you would be freed from sin and sorrow; if you would taste of that spotless purity for which you sigh and pray; if you would realize wisdom and knowledge, and would enter into the possession of profound and abiding peace, come now and enter the path of meditation, and let the supreme object of your meditation be Truth. At the outset, meditation must be distinguished from idle reverie. There is nothing dreamy and unpractical about it. It is a process of searching and uncompromising thought which allows nothing to remain but the simple and naked truth. Thus meditating you will no longer strive to build yourself up in your prejudices, but, forgetting self, you will remember only that you are seeking the Truth. And so you will remove, one by one, the errors which you have built around yourself in the past, and will patiently wait for the revelation of Truth which will come when your errors have been sufficiently removed. In the silent humility of your heart you will realize that "There is an inmost centre in us all Where Truth abides in fulness; and around, Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in; This perfect, clear perception, which is Truth, A baffling and perverting carnal mesh Blinds it, and makes all error; and to know, Rather consists in opening out a way Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape, Than in effecting entry for a light Supposed to be without." Select some portion of the day in which to meditate, and keep that period sacred to your purpose. The best time is the very early morning when the spirit of repose is upon everything. All natural conditions will then be in your favor; the passions, after the long bodily fast of the night, will be subdued, the excitements and worries of the previous day will have died away, and the mind, strong and yet restful, will be receptive to spiritual instruction. Indeed, one of the first efforts you will be called upon to make will be to shake off lethargy and indulgence, and if you refuse you will be unable to advance, for the demands of the spirit are imperative. To be spiritually awakened is also to be mentally and physically awakened. The sluggard and the self- indulgent can have no knowledge of Truth. He who, possessed of health and strength, wastes the calm, precious hours of the silent morning in drowsy indulgence is totally unfit to climb the heavenly heights.
  • 68. He whose awakening consciousness has become alive to its lofty possibilities, who is beginning to shake off the darkness of ignorance in which the world is enveloped, rises before the stars have ceased their vigil, and, grappling with the darkness within his soul, strives, by holy aspiration, to perceive the light of Truth while the unawakened world dreams on. "The heights by great men reached and kept, Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night." No saint, no holy man, no teacher of Truth ever lived who did not rise early in the morning. Jesus habitually rose early, and climbed the solitary mountains to engage in holy communion. Buddha always rose an hour before sunrise and engaged in meditation, and all his disciples were enjoined to do the same. If you have to commence your daily duties at a very early hour, and are thus debarred from giving the early morning to systematic meditation, try to give an hour at night, and should this, by the length and laboriousness of your daily task be denied you, you need not despair, for you may turn your thoughts upward in holy meditation in the intervals of your work, or in those few idle minutes which you now waste in aimlessness; and should your work be of that kind which becomes by practice automatic, you may meditate while engaged upon it. That eminent Christian saint and philosopher, Jacob Boehme, realized his vast knowledge of divine things whilst working long hours as a shoemaker. In every life there is time to think, and the busiest, the most laborious is not shut out from aspiration and meditation. Spiritual meditation and self-discipline are inseparable; you will, therefore, commence to meditate upon yourself so as to try and understand yourself, for, remember, the great object you will have in view will be the complete removal of all your errors in order that you may realize Truth. You will begin to question your motives, thoughts, and acts, comparing them with your ideal, and endeavoring to look upon them with a calm and impartial eye. In this manner you will be continually gaining more of that mental and spiritual equilibrium without which men are but helpless straws upon the ocean of life. If you are given to hatred or anger you will meditate upon gentleness and forgiveness, so as to become acutely alive to a sense of your harsh and foolish conduct. You will then begin to dwell in thoughts of love, of gentleness, of abounding forgiveness; and as you overcome the lower by the higher, there will gradually, silently steal into your heart a knowledge of the divine Law of Love with an understanding of its bearing upon all the intricacies of life and conduct. And in applying this knowledge to your every thought, word, and act, you will grow more and more gentle, more and more loving, more and more divine. And thus with every error, every selfish desire, every human weakness; by the power of meditation is it overcome, and as each sin, each error is thrust out, a fuller and clearer measure of the Light of Truth illumines the pilgrim soul. Thus meditating, you will be ceaselessly fortifying yourself against your only real enemy, your selfish, perishable self, and will be establishing yourself more and more firmly in the divine and imperishable self that is inseparable from Truth. The direct outcome of your meditations will be a calm, spiritual strength which will be your stay and resting-place in the struggle of life. Great is the overcoming power of holy thought, and the strength and knowledge gained in the hour of silent meditation will enrich the soul with saving remembrance in the hour of strife, of sorrow, or of temptation. As, by the power of meditation, you grow in wisdom, you will relinquish, more and more, your selfish desires which are fickle, impermanent, and productive of sorrow and pain; and will take your stand, with increasing steadfastness and trust, upon unchangeable principles, and will realize heavenly rest. The use of meditation is the acquirement of a knowledge of eternal principles, and the power which
  • 69. results from meditation is the ability to rest upon and trust those principles, and so become one with the Eternal. The end of meditation is, therefore, direct knowledge of Truth, God, and the realization of divine and profound peace. Let your meditations take their rise from the ethical ground which you now occupy. Remember that you are to grow into Truth by steady perseverance. If you are an orthodox Christian, meditate ceaselessly upon the spotless purity and divine excellence of the character of Jesus, and apply his every precept to your inner life and outward conduct, so as to approximate more and more toward his perfection. Do not be as those religious ones, who, refusing to meditate upon the Law of Truth, and to put into practice the precepts given to them by their Master, are content to formally worship, to cling to their particular creeds, and to continue in the ceaseless round of sin and suffering. Strive to rise, by the power of meditation, above all selfish clinging to partial gods or party creeds; above dead formalities and lifeless ignorance. Thus walking the high way of wisdom, with mind fixed upon the spotless Truth, you shall know no halting-place short of the realization of Truth. He who earnestly meditates first perceives a truth, as it were, afar off, and then realizes it by daily practice. It is only the doer of the Word of Truth that can know of the doctrine of Truth, for though by pure thought the Truth is perceived, it is only actualized by practice. Said the divine Gautama, the Buddha, "He who gives himself up to vanity, and does not give himself up to meditation, forgetting the real aim of life and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation," and he instructed his disciples in the following "Five Great Meditations":-- "The first meditation is the meditation of love, in which you so adjust your heart that you long for the weal and welfare of all beings, including the happiness of your enemies. "The second meditation is the meditation of pity, in which you think of all beings in distress, vividly representing in your imagination their sorrows and anxieties so as to arouse a deep compassion for them in your soul. "The third meditation is the meditation of joy, in which you think of the prosperity of others, and rejoice with their rejoicings. "The fourth meditation is the meditation of impurity, in which you consider the evil consequences of corruption, the effects of sin and diseases. How trivial often the pleasure of the moment, and how fatal its consequences. "The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity, in which you rise above love and hate, tyranny and oppression, wealth and want, and regard your own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquillity." By engaging in these meditations the disciples of the Buddha arrived at a knowledge of the Truth. But whether you engage in these particular meditations or not matters little so long as your object is Truth, so long as you hunger and thirst for that righteousness which is a holy heart and a blameless life. In your meditations, therefore, let your heart grow and expand with ever-broadening love, until, freed from all hatred, and passion, and condemnation, it embraces the whole universe with thoughtful tenderness. As the flower opens its petals to receive the morning light, so open your soul more and more to the glorious light of Truth. Soar upward upon the wings of aspiration; be fearless, and believe in the loftiest possibilities. Believe that a life of absolute meekness is possible; believe that a life of stainless purity is possible; believe that a life of perfect holiness is possible; believe that the realization of the highest truth is possible. He who so believes, climbs rapidly the heavenly hills, whilst the unbelievers continue to grope darkly and painfully in the fog-bound valleys.
  • 70. So believing, so aspiring, so meditating, divinely sweet and beautiful will be your spiritual experiences, and glorious the revelations that will enrapture your inward vision. As you realize the divine Love, the divine Justice, the divine Purity, the Perfect Law of Good, or God, great will be your bliss and deep your peace. Old things will pass away, and all things will become new. The veil of the material universe, so dense and impenetrable to the eye of error, so thin and gauzy to the eye of Truth, will be lifted and the spiritual universe will be revealed. Time will cease, and you will live only in Eternity. Change and mortality will no more cause you anxiety and sorrow, for you will become established in the unchangeable, and will dwell in the very heart of immortality. Star of wisdom Star that of the birth of Vishnu, Birth of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Told the wise ones, Heavenward looking, Waiting, watching for thy gleaming In the darkness of the night-time, In the starless gloom of midnight; Shining Herald of the coming Of the kingdom of the righteous; Teller of the Mystic story Of the lowly birth of Godhead In the stable of the passions, In the manger of the mind-soul; Silent singer of the secret Of compassion deep and holy To the heart with sorrow burdened, To the soul with waiting weary:-- Star of all-surpassing brightness, Thou again dost deck the midnight; Thou again dost cheer the wise ones Watching in the creedal darkness, Weary of the endless battle With the grinding blades of error; Tired of lifeless, useless idols, Of the dead forms of religions; Spent with watching for thy shining; Thou hast ended their despairing; Thou hast lighted up their pathway; Thou hast brought again the old Truths To the hearts of all thy Watchers; To the souls of them that love thee Thou dost speak of Joy and Gladness, Of the peace that comes of Sorrow. Blessed are they that can see thee, Weary wanderers in the Night-time; Blessed they who feel the throbbing, In their bosoms feel the pulsing Of a deep Love stirred within them By the great power of thy shining.
  • 71. Let us learn thy lesson truly; Learn it faithfully and humbly; Learn it meekly, wisely, gladly, Ancient Star of holy Vishnu, Light of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus. 2. The two masters, self and truth Upon the battlefield of the human soul two masters are ever contending for the crown of supremacy, for the kingship and dominion of the heart; the master of self, called also the "Prince of this world," and the master of Truth, called also the Father God. The master self is that rebellious one whose weapons are passion, pride, avarice, vanity, self-will, implements of darkness; the master Truth is that meek and lowly one whose weapons are gentleness, patience, purity, sacrifice, humility, love, instruments of Light. In every soul the battle is waged, and as a soldier cannot engage at once in two opposing armies, so every heart is enlisted either in the ranks of self or of Truth. There is no half-and-half course; "There is self and there is Truth; where self is, Truth is not, where Truth is, self is not." Thus spake Buddha, the teacher of Truth, and Jesus, the manifested Christ, declared that "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Truth is so simple, so absolutely undeviating and uncompromising that it admits of no complexity, no turning, no qualification. Self is ingenious, crooked, and, governed by subtle and snaky desire, admits of endless turnings and qualifications, and the deluded worshipers of self vainly imagine that they can gratify every worldly desire, and at the same time possess the Truth. But the lovers of Truth worship Truth with the sacrifice of self, and ceaselessly guard themselves against worldliness and self-seeking. Do you seek to know and to realize Truth? Then you must be prepared to sacrifice, to renounce to the uttermost, for Truth in all its glory can only be perceived and known when the last vestige of self has disappeared. The eternal Christ declared that he who would be His disciple must "deny himself daily." Are you willing to deny yourself, to give up your lusts, your prejudices, your opinions? If so, you may enter the narrow way of Truth, and find that peace from which the world is shut out. The absolute denial, the utter extinction, of self is the perfect state of Truth, and all religions and philosophies are but so many aids to this supreme attainment. Self is the denial of Truth. Truth is the denial of self. As you let self die, you will be reborn in Truth. As you cling to self, Truth will be hidden from you. Whilst you cling to self, your path will be beset with difficulties, and repeated pains, sorrows, and disappointments will be your lot. There are no difficulties in Truth, and coming to Truth, you will be freed from all sorrow and disappointment. Truth in itself is not hidden and dark. It is always revealed and is perfectly transparent. But the blind and wayward self cannot perceive it. The light of day is not hidden except to the blind, and the Light of Truth is not hidden except to those who are blinded by self. Truth is the one Reality in the universe, the inward Harmony, the perfect Justice, the eternal Love. Nothing can be added to it, nor taken from it. It does not depend upon any man, but all men depend upon it. You cannot perceive the beauty of Truth while you are looking out through the eyes of self. If you are vain, you will color everything with your own vanities. If lustful, your heart and mind will be so clouded with the smoke and flames of passion, that everything will appear distorted through them. If
  • 72. proud and opinionative, you will see nothing in the whole universe except the magnitude and importance of your own opinions. There is one quality which pre-eminently distinguishes the man of Truth from the man of self, and that is humility. To be not only free from vanity, stubbornness and egotism, but to regard one‘s own opinions as of no value, this indeed is true humility. He who is immersed in self regards his own opinions as Truth, and the opinions of other men as error. But that humble Truth-lover who has learned to distinguish between opinion and Truth, regards all men with the eye of charity, and does not seek to defend his opinions against theirs, but sacrifices those opinions that he may love the more, that he may manifest the spirit of Truth, for Truth in its very nature is ineffable and can only be lived. He who has most of charity has most of Truth. Men engage in heated controversies, and foolishly imagine they are defending the Truth, when in reality they are merely defending their own petty interests and perishable opinions. The follower of self takes up arms against others. The follower of Truth takes up arms against himself. Truth, being unchangeable and eternal, is independent of your opinion and of mine. We may enter into it, or we may stay outside; but both our defense and our attack are superfluous, and are hurled back upon ourselves. Men, enslaved by self, passionate, proud, and condemnatory, believe their particular creed or religion to be the Truth, and all other religions to be error; and they proselytize with passionate ardor. There is but one religion, the religion of Truth. There is but one error, the error of self. Truth is not a formal belief; it is an unselfish, holy, and aspiring heart, and he who has Truth is at peace with all, and cherishes all with thoughts of love. You may easily know whether you are a child of Truth or a worshiper of self, if you will silently examine your mind, heart, and conduct. Do you harbor thoughts of suspicion, enmity, envy, lust, pride, or do you strenuously fight against these? If the former, you are chained to self, no matter what religion you may profess; if the latter, you are a candidate for Truth, even though outwardly you may profess no religion. Are you passionate, self-willed, ever seeking to gain your own ends, self-indulgent, and self- centered; or are you gentle, mild, unselfish, quit of every form of self-indulgence, and are ever ready to give up your own? If the former, self is your master; if the latter, Truth is the object of your affection. Do you strive for riches? Do you fight, with passion, for your party? Do you lust for power and leadership? Are you given to ostentation and self-praise? Or have you given up the love of riches? Have you relinquished all strife? Are you content to take the lowest place, and to be passed by unnoticed? And have you ceased to talk about yourself and to regard yourself with self-complacent pride? If the former, even though you may imagine you worship God, the god of your heart is self. If the latter, even though you may withhold your lips from worship, you are dwelling with the Most High. The signs by which the Truth-lover is known are unmistakable. Hear the Holy Krishna declare them, in Sir Edwin Arnold‘s beautiful rendering of the "Bhagavad Gita":-- "Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand And governed appetites; and piety, And love of lonely study; humbleness, Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind That lightly letteth go what others prize; And equanimity, and charity Which spieth no man‘s faults; and tenderness Towards all that suffer; a contented heart, Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild,
  • 73. Modest and grave, with manhood nobly mixed, With patience, fortitude and purity; An unrevengeful spirit, never given To rate itself too high--such be the signs, O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth!" When men, lost in the devious ways of error and self, have forgotten the "heavenly birth," the state of holiness and Truth, they set up artificial standards by which to judge one another, and make acceptance of, and adherence to, their own particular theology, the test of Truth; and so men are divided one against another, and there is ceaseless enmity and strife, and unending sorrow and suffering. Reader, do you seek to realize the birth into Truth? There is only one way: Let self die. All those lusts, appetites, desires, opinions, limited conceptions and prejudices to which you have hitherto so tenaciously clung, let them fall from you. Let them no longer hold you in bondage, and Truth will be yours. Cease to look upon your own religion as superior to all others, and strive humbly to learn the supreme lesson of charity. No longer cling to the idea, so productive of strife and sorrow, that the Savior whom you worship is the only Savior, and that the Savior whom your brother worships with equal sincerity and ardor, is an impostor; but seek diligently the path of holiness, and then you will realize that every holy man is a savior of mankind. The giving up of self is not merely the renunciation of outward things. It consists of the renunciation of the inward sin, the inward error. Not by giving up vain clothing; not by relinquishing riches; not by abstaining from certain foods; not by speaking smooth words; not by merely doing these things is the Truth found; but by giving up the spirit of vanity; by relinquishing the desire for riches; by abstaining from the lust of self-indulgence; by giving up all hatred, strife, condemnation, and self-seeking, and becoming gentle and pure at heart; by doing these things is the Truth found. To do the former, and not to do the latter, is pharisaism and hypocrisy, whereas the latter includes the former. You may renounce the outward world, and isolate yourself in a cave or in the depths of a forest, but you will take all your selfishness with you, and unless you renounce that, great indeed will be your wretchedness and deep your delusion. You may remain just where you are, performing all your duties, and yet renounce the world, the inward enemy. To be in the world and yet not of the world is the highest perfection, the most blessed peace, is to achieve the greatest victory. The renunciation of self is the way of Truth, therefore, "Enter the Path; there is no grief like hate, No pain like passion, no deceit like sense; Enter the Path; far hath he gone whose foot Treads down one fond offense." As you succeed in overcoming self you will begin to see things in their right relations. He who is swayed by any passion, prejudice, like or dislike, adjusts everything to that particular bias, and sees only his own delusions. He who is absolutely free from all passion, prejudice, preference, and partiality, sees himself as he is; sees others as they are; sees all things in their proper proportions and right relations. Having nothing to attack, nothing to defend, nothing to conceal, and no interests to guard, he is at peace. He has realized the profound simplicity of Truth, for this unbiased, tranquil, blessed state of mind and heart is the state of Truth. He who attains to it dwells with the angels, and sits at the footstool of the Supreme. Knowing the Great Law; knowing the origin of sorrow; knowing the secret of suffering; knowing the way of emancipation in Truth, how can such a one engage in strife or condemnation; for though he knows that the blind, self-seeking world, surrounded with the clouds of its own illusions, and enveloped in the darkness of error and self, cannot perceive the steadfast Light of
  • 74. Truth, and is utterly incapable of comprehending the profound simplicity of the heart that has died, or is dying, to self, yet he also knows that when the suffering ages have piled up mountains of sorrow, the crushed and burdened soul of the world will fly to its final refuge, and that when the ages are completed, every prodigal will come back to the fold of Truth. And so he dwells in goodwill toward all, and regards all with that tender compassion which a father bestows upon his wayward children. Men cannot understand Truth because they cling to self, because they believe in and love self, because they believe self to be the only reality, whereas it is the one delusion. When you cease to believe in and love self you will desert it, and will fly to Truth, and will find the eternal Reality. When men are intoxicated with the wines of luxury, and pleasure, and vanity, the thirst of life grows and deepens within them, and they delude themselves with dreams of fleshly immortality, but when they come to reap the harvest of their own sowing, and pain and sorrow supervene, then, crushed and humiliated, relinquishing self and all the intoxications of self, they come, with aching hearts to the one immortality, the immortality that destroys all delusions, the spiritual immortality in Truth. Men pass from evil to good, from self to Truth, through the dark gate of sorrow, for sorrow and self are inseparable. Only in the peace and bliss of Truth is all sorrow vanquished. If you suffer disappointment because your cherished plans have been thwarted, or because someone has not come up to your anticipations, it is because you are clinging to self. If you suffer remorse for your conduct, it is because you have given way to self. If you are overwhelmed with chagrin and regret because of the attitude of someone else toward you, it is because you have been cherishing self. If you are wounded on account of what has been done to you or said of you, it is because you are walking in the painful way of self. All suffering is of self. All suffering ends in Truth. When you have entered into and realized Truth, you will no longer suffer disappointment, remorse, and regret, and sorrow will flee from you. "Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul; Truth is the only angel that can bid the gates unroll; And when he comes to call thee, arise and follow fast; His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to light at last." The woe of the world is of its own making. Sorrow purifies and deepens the soul, and the extremity of sorrow is the prelude to Truth. Have you suffered much? Have you sorrowed deeply? Have you pondered seriously upon the problem of life? If so, you are prepared to wage war against self, and to become a disciple of Truth. The intellectual who do not see the necessity for giving up self, frame endless theories about the universe, and call them Truth; but do thou pursue that direct line of conduct which is the practice of righteousness, and thou wilt realize the Truth which has no place in theory, and which never changes. Cultivate your heart. Water it continually with unselfish love and deep-felt pity, and strive to shut out from it all thoughts and feelings which are not in accordance with Love. Return good for evil, love for hatred, gentleness for ill-treatment, and remain silent when attacked. So shall you transmute all your selfish desires into the pure gold of Love, and self will disappear in Truth. So will you walk blamelessly among men, yoked with the easy yoke of lowliness, and clothed with the divine garment of humility. O come, weary brother! thy struggling and striving End thou in the heart of the Master of ruth; Across self‘s drear desert why wilt thou be driving, Athirst for the quickening waters of Truth
  • 75. When here, by the path of thy searching and sinning, Flows Life‘s gladsome stream, lies Love‘s oasis green? Come, turn thou and rest; know the end and beginning, The sought and the searcher, the seer and seen. Thy Master sits not in the unapproached mountains, Nor dwells in the mirage which floats on the air, Nor shalt thou discover His magical fountains In pathways of sand that encircle despair. In selfhood‘s dark desert cease wearily seeking The odorous tracks of the feet of thy King; And if thou wouldst hear the sweet sound of His speaking, Be deaf to all voices that emptily sing. Flee the vanishing places; renounce all thou hast; Leave all that thou lovest, and, naked and bare, Thyself at the shrine of the Innermost cast; The Highest, the Holiest, the Changeless is there. Within, in the heart of the Silence He dwelleth; Leave sorrow and sin, leave thy wanderings sore; Come bathe in His Joy, whilst He, whispering, telleth Thy soul what it seeketh, and wander no more. Then cease, weary brother, thy struggling and striving; Find peace in the heart of the Master of ruth. Across self‘s dark desert cease wearily driving; Come; drink at the beautiful waters of Truth. 3. The acquirement of spiritual power The world is filled with men and women seeking pleasure, excitement, novelty; seeking ever to be moved to laughter or tears; not seeking strength, stability, and power; but courting weakness, and eagerly engaged in dispersing what power they have. Men and women of real power and influence are few, because few are prepared to make the sacrifice necessary to the acquirement of power, and fewer still are ready to patiently build up character. To be swayed by your fluctuating thoughts and impulses is to be weak and powerless; to rightly control and direct those forces is to be strong and powerful. Men of strong animal passions have much of the ferocity of the beast, but this is not power. The elements of power are there; but it is only when this ferocity is tamed and subdued by the higher intelligence that real power begins; and men can only grow in power by awakening themselves to higher and ever higher states of intelligence and consciousness. The difference between a man of weakness and one of power lies not in the strength of the personal will (for the stubborn man is usually weak and foolish), but in that focus of consciousness which represents their states of knowledge. The pleasure-seekers, the lovers of excitement, the hunters after novelty, and the victims of impulse and hysterical emotion lack that knowledge of principles which gives balance, stability, and influence.
  • 76. A man commences to develop power when, checking his impulses and selfish inclinations, he falls back upon the higher and calmer consciousness within him, and begins to steady himself upon a principle. The realization of unchanging principles in consciousness is at once the source and secret of the highest power. When, after much searching, and suffering, and sacrificing, the light of an eternal principle dawns upon the soul, a divine calm ensues and joy unspeakable gladdens the heart. He who has realized such a principle ceases to wander, and remains poised and self-possessed. He ceases to be "passion‘s slave," and becomes a master-builder in the Temple of Destiny. The man that is governed by self, and not by a principle, changes his front when his selfish comforts are threatened. Deeply intent upon defending and guarding his own interests, he regards all means as lawful that will subserve that end. He is continually scheming as to how he may protect himself against his enemies, being too self-centered to perceive that he is his own enemy. Such a man‘s work crumbles away, for it is divorced from Truth and power. All effort that is grounded upon self, perishes; only that work endures that is built upon an indestructible principle. The man that stands upon a principle is the same calm, dauntless, self-possessed man under all circumstances. When the hour of trial comes, and he has to decide between his personal comforts and Truth, he gives up his comforts and remains firm. Even the prospect of torture and death cannot alter or deter him. The man of self regards the loss of his wealth, his comforts, or his life as the greatest calamities which can befall him. The man of principle looks upon these incidents as comparatively insignificant, and not to be weighed with loss of character, loss of Truth. To desert Truth is, to him, the only happening which can really be called a calamity. It is the hour of crisis which decides who are the minions of darkness, and who the children of Light. It is the epoch of threatening disaster, ruin, and persecution which divides the sheep from the goats, and reveals to the reverential gaze of succeeding ages the men and women of power. It is easy for a man, so long as he is left in the enjoyment of his possessions, to persuade himself that he believes in and adheres to the principles of Peace, Brotherhood, and Universal Love; but if, when his enjoyments are threatened, or he imagines they are threatened, he begins to clamor loudly for war, he shows that he believes in and stands upon, not Peace, Brotherhood, and Love, but strife, selfishness, and hatred. He who does not desert his principles when threatened with the loss of every earthly thing, even to the loss of reputation and life, is the man of power; is the man whose every word and work endures; is the man whom the afterworld honors, reveres, and worships. Rather than desert that principle of Divine Love on which he rested, and in which all his trust was placed, Jesus endured the utmost extremity of agony and deprivation; and today the world prostrates itself at his pierced feet in rapt adoration. There is no way to the acquirement of spiritual power except by that inward illumination and enlightenment which is the realization of spiritual principles; and those principles can only be realized by constant practice and application. Take the principle of divine Love, and quietly and diligently meditate upon it with the object of arriving at a thorough understanding of it. Bring its searching light to bear upon all your habits, your actions, your speech and intercourse with others, your every secret thought and desire. As you persevere in this course, the divine Love will become more and more perfectly revealed to you, and your own shortcomings will stand out in more and more vivid contrast, spurring you on to renewed endeavor; and having once caught a glimpse of the incomparable majesty of that imperishable principle, you will never again rest in your weakness, your selfishness, your imperfection, but will pursue that Love until you have relinquished every discordant element, and have brought yourself into perfect harmony with
  • 77. it. And that state of inward harmony is spiritual power. Take also other spiritual principles, such as Purity and Compassion, and apply them in the same way, and, so exacting is Truth, you will be able to make no stay, no resting-place until the inmost garment of your soul is bereft of every stain, and your heart has become incapable of any hard, condemnatory, and pitiless impulse. Only in so far as you understand, realize, and rely upon, these principles, will you acquire spiritual power, and that power will be manifested in and through you in the form of increasing dispassion, patience and equanimity. Dispassion argues superior self-control; sublime patience is the very hall-mark of divine knowledge, and to retain an unbroken calm amid all the duties and distractions of life, marks off the man of power. "It is easy in the world to live after the world‘s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." Some mystics hold that perfection in dispassion is the source of that power by which miracles (so- called) are performed, and truly he who has gained such perfect control of all his interior forces that no shock, however great, can for one moment unbalance him, must be capable of guiding and directing those forces with a master-hand. To grow in self-control, in patience, in equanimity, is to grow in strength and power; and you can only thus grow by focusing your consciousness upon a principle. As a child, after making many and vigorous attempts to walk unaided, at last succeeds, after numerous falls, in accomplishing this, so you must enter the way of power by first attempting to stand alone. Break away from the tyranny of custom, tradition, conventionality, and the opinions of others, until you succeed in walking lonely and erect among men. Rely upon your own judgment; be true to your own conscience; follow the Light that is within you; all outward lights are so many will-o‘-the-wisps. There will be those who will tell you that you are foolish; that your judgment is faulty; that your conscience is all awry, and that the Light within you is darkness; but heed them not. If what they say is true the sooner you, as a searcher for wisdom, find it out the better, and you can only make the discovery by bringing your powers to the test. Therefore, pursue your course bravely. Your conscience is at least your own, and to follow it is to be a man; to follow the conscience of another is to be a slave. You will have many falls, will suffer many wounds, will endure many buffetings for a time, but press on in faith, believing that sure and certain victory lies ahead. Search for a rock, a principle, and having found it cling to it; get it under your feet and stand erect upon it, until at last, immovably fixed upon it, you succeed in defying the fury of the waves and storms of selfishness. For selfishness in any and every form is dissipation, weakness, death; unselfishness in its spiritual aspect is conservation, power, life. As you grow in spiritual life, and become established upon principles, you will become as beautiful and as unchangeable as those principles, will taste of the sweetness of their immortal essence, and will realize the eternal and indestructible nature of the God within. No harmful shaft can reach the righteous man, Standing erect amid the storms of hate, Defying hurt and injury and ban, Surrounded by the trembling slaves of Fate. Majestic in the strength of silent power, Serene he stands, nor changes not nor turns; Patient and firm in suffering‘s darkest hour, Time bends to him, and death and doom he spurns.
  • 78. Wrath‘s lurid lightnings round about him play, And hell‘s deep thunders roll about his head; Yet heeds he not, for him they cannot slay Who stands whence earth and time and space are fled. Sheltered by deathless love, what fear hath he? Armored in changeless Truth, what can he know Of loss and gain? Knowing eternity, He moves not whilst the shadows come and go. Call him immortal, call him Truth and Light And splendor of prophetic majesty Who bideth thus amid the powers of night, Clothed with the glory of divinity. 4. The realization of selfless love It is said that Michael Angelo saw in every rough block of stone a thing of beauty awaiting the master- hand to bring it into reality. Even so, within each there reposes the Divine Image awaiting the master- hand of Faith and the chisel of Patience to bring it into manifestation. And that Divine Image is revealed and realized as stainless, selfless Love. Hidden deep in every human heart, though frequently covered up with a mass of hard and almost impenetrable accretions, is the spirit of Divine Love, whose holy and spotless essence is undying and eternal. It is the Truth in man; it is that which belongs to the Supreme: that which is real and immortal. All else changes and passes away; this alone is permanent and imperishable; and to realize this Love by ceaseless diligence in the practice of the highest righteousness, to live in it and to become fully conscious in it, is to enter into immortality here and now, is to become one with Truth, one with God, one with the central Heart of all things, and to know our own divine and eternal nature. To reach this Love, to understand and experience it, one must work with great persistency and diligence upon his heart and mind, must ever renew his patience and keep strong his faith, for there will be much to remove, much to accomplish before the Divine Image is revealed in all its glorious beauty. He who strives to reach and to accomplish the divine will be tried to the very uttermost; and this is absolutely necessary, for how else could one acquire that sublime patience without which there is no real wisdom, no divinity? Ever and anon, as he proceeds, all his work will seem to be futile, and his efforts appear to be thrown away. Now and then a hasty touch will mar his image, and perhaps when he imagines his work is almost completed he will find what he imagined to be the beautiful form of Divine Love utterly destroyed, and he must begin again with his past bitter experience to guide and help him. But he who has resolutely set himself to realize the Highest recognizes no such thing as defeat. All failures are apparent, not real. Every slip, every fall, every return to selfishness is a lesson learned, an experience gained, from which a golden grain of wisdom is extracted, helping the striver toward the accomplishment of his lofty object. To recognize "That of our vices we can frame A ladder if we will but tread Beneath our feet each deed of shame," is to enter the way that leads unmistakably toward the Divine, and the failings of one who thus recognizes are so many dead selves, upon which he rises, as upon stepping-stones, to higher things.
  • 79. Once come to regard your failings, your sorrows and sufferings as so many voices telling you plainly where you are weak and faulty, where you fall below the true and the divine, you will then begin to ceaselessly watch yourself, and every slip, every pang of pain will show you where you are to set to work, and what you have to remove out of your heart in order to bring it nearer to the likeness of the Divine, nearer to the Perfect Love. And as you proceed, day by day detaching yourself more and more from the inward selfishness the Love that is selfless will gradually become revealed to you. And when you are growing patient and calm, when your petulances, tempers, and irritabilities are passing away from you, and the more powerful lusts and prejudices cease to dominate and enslave you, then you will know that the divine is awakening within you, that you are drawing near to the eternal Heart, that you are not far from that selfless Love, the possession of which is peace and immortality. Divine Love is distinguished from human loves in this supremely important particular, it is free from partiality. Human loves cling to a particular object to the exclusion of all else, and when that object is removed, great and deep is the resultant suffering to the one who loves. Divine Love embraces the whole universe, and, without clinging to any part, yet contains within itself the whole, and he who comes to it by gradually purifying and broadening his human loves until all the selfish and impure elements are burnt out of them, ceases from suffering. It is because human loves are narrow and confined and mingled with selfishness that they cause suffering. No suffering can result from that Love which is so absolutely pure that it seeks nothing for itself. Nevertheless, human loves are absolutely necessary as steps toward the Divine, and no soul is prepared to partake of Divine Love until it has become capable of the deepest and most intense human love. It is only by passing through human loves and human sufferings that Divine Love is reached and realized. All human loves are perishable like the forms to which they cling; but there is a Love that is imperishable, and that does not cling to appearances. All human loves are counterbalanced by human hates; but there is a Love that admits of no opposite or reaction; divine and free from all taint of self, that sheds its fragrance on all alike. Human loves are reflections of the Divine Love, and draw the soul nearer to the reality, the Love that knows neither sorrow nor change. It is well that the mother, clinging with passionate tenderness to the little helpless form of flesh that lies on her bosom, should be overwhelmed with the dark waters of sorrow when she sees it laid in the cold earth. It is well that her tears should flow and her heart ache, for only thus can she be reminded of the evanescent nature of the joys and objects of sense, and be drawn nearer to the eternal and imperishable Reality. It is well that lover, brother, sister, husband, wife should suffer deep anguish, and be enveloped in gloom when the visible object of their affections is torn from them, so that they may learn to turn their affections toward the invisible Source of all, where alone abiding satisfaction is to be found. It is well that the proud, the ambitious, the self-seeking, should suffer defeat, humiliation, and misfortune; that they should pass through the scorching fires of affliction; for only thus can the wayward soul be brought to reflect upon the enigma of life; only thus can the heart be softened and purified, and prepared to receive the Truth. When the sting of anguish penetrates the heart of human love; when gloom and loneliness and desertion cloud the soul of friendship and trust, then it is that the heart turns toward the sheltering love of the Eternal, and finds rest in its silent peace. And whosoever comes to this Love is not turned away comfortless, is not pierced with anguish nor surrounded with gloom; and is never deserted in the dark hour of trial. The glory of Divine Love can only be revealed in the heart that is chastened by sorrow, and the image
  • 80. of the heavenly state can only be perceived and realized when the lifeless, formless accretions of ignorance and self are hewn away. Only that Love that seeks no personal gratification or reward, that does not make distinctions, and that leaves behind no heartaches, can be called divine. Men, clinging to self and to the comfortless shadows of evil, are in the habit of thinking of divine Love as something belonging to a God who is out of reach; as something outside themselves, and that must for ever remain outside. Truly, the Love of God is ever beyond the reach of self, but when the heart and mind are emptied of self then the selfless Love, the supreme Love, the Love that is of God or Good becomes an inward and abiding reality. And this inward realization of holy Love is none other than the Love of Christ that is so much talked about and so little comprehended. The Love that not only saves the soul from sin, but lifts it also above the power of temptation. But how may one attain to this sublime realization? The answer which Truth has always given, and will ever give to this question is,--"Empty thyself, and I will fill thee." Divine Love cannot be known until self is dead, for self is the denial of Love, and how can that which is known be also denied? Not until the stone of self is rolled away from the sepulcher of the soul does the immortal Christ, the pure Spirit of Love, hitherto crucified, dead and buried, cast off the bands of ignorance, and come forth in all the majesty of His resurrection. You believe that the Christ of Nazareth was put to death and rose again. I do not say you err in that belief; but if you refuse to believe that the gentle spirit of Love is crucified daily upon the dark cross of your selfish desires, then, I say, you err in this unbelief, and have not yet perceived, even afar off, the Love of Christ. You say that you have tasted of salvation in the Love of Christ. Are you saved from your temper, your irritability, your vanity, your personal dislikes, your judgment and condemnation of others? If not, from what are you saved, and wherein have you realized the transforming Love of Christ? He who has realized the Love that is divine has become a new man, and has ceased to be swayed and dominated by the old elements of self. He is known for his patience, his purity, his self-control, his deep charity of heart, and his unalterable sweetness. Divine or selfless Love is not a mere sentiment or emotion; it is a state of knowledge which destroys the dominion of evil and the belief in evil, and lifts the soul into the joyful realization of the supreme Good. To the divinely wise, knowledge and Love are one and inseparable. It is toward the complete realization of this divine Love that the whole world is moving; it was for this purpose that the universe came into existence, and every grasping at happiness, every reaching out of the soul toward objects, ideas and ideals, is an effort to realize it. But the world does not realize this Love at present because it is grasping at the fleeting shadow and ignoring, in its blindness, the substance. And so suffering and sorrow continue, and must continue until the world, taught by its self- inflicted pains, discovers the Love that is selfless, the wisdom that is calm and full of peace. And this Love, this Wisdom, this Peace, this tranquil state of mind and heart may be attained to, may be realized by all who are willing and ready to yield up self, and who are prepared to humbly enter into a comprehension of all that the giving up of self involves. There is no arbitrary power in the universe, and the strongest chains of fate by which men are bound are self-forged. Men are chained to that which causes suffering because they desire to be so, because they love their chains, because they think their little dark prison of self is sweet and beautiful, and they are afraid that if they desert that prison they will lose all that is real and worth having.
  • 81. "Ye suffer from yourselves, none else compels, None other holds ye that ye live and die." And the indwelling power which forged the chains and built around itself the dark and narrow prison, can break away when it desires and wills to do so, and the soul does will to do so when it has discovered the worthlessness of its prison, when long suffering has prepared it for the reception of the boundless Light and Love. As the shadow follows the form, and as smoke comes after fire, so effect follows cause, and suffering and bliss follow the thoughts and deeds of men. There is no effect in the world around us but has its hidden or revealed cause, and that cause is in accordance with absolute justice. Men reap a harvest of suffering because in the near or distant past they have sown the seeds of evil; they reap a harvest of bliss also as a result of their own sowing of the seeds of good. Let a man meditate upon this, let him strive to understand it, and he will then begin to sow only seeds of good, and will burn up the tares and weeds which he has formerly grown in the garden of his heart. The world does not understand the Love that is selfless because it is engrossed in the pursuit of its own pleasures, and cramped within the narrow limits of perishable interests mistaking, in its ignorance, those pleasures and interests for real and abiding things. Caught in the flames of fleshly lusts, and burning with anguish, it sees not the pure and peaceful beauty of Truth. Feeding upon the swinish husks of error and self-delusion, it is shut out from the mansion of all-seeing Love. Not having this Love, not understanding it, men institute innumerable reforms which involve no inward sacrifice, and each imagines that his reform is going to right the world for ever, while he himself continues to propagate evil by engaging it in his own heart. That only can be called reform which tends to reform the human heart, for all evil has its rise there, and not until the world, ceasing from selfishness and party strife, has learned the lesson of divine Love, will it realize the Golden Age of universal blessedness. Let the rich cease to despise the poor, and the poor to condemn the rich; let the greedy learn how to give, and the lustful how to grow pure; let the partisan cease from strife, and the uncharitable begin to forgive; let the envious endeavor to rejoice with others, and the slanderers grow ashamed of their conduct. Let men and women take this course, and, lo! the Golden Age is at hand. He, therefore, who purifies his own heart is the world‘s greatest benefactor. Yet, though the world is, and will be for many ages to come, shut out from that Age of Gold, which is the realization of selfless Love, you, if you are willing, may enter it now, by rising above your selfish self; if you will pass from prejudice, hatred, and condemnation, to gentle and forgiving love. Where hatred, dislike, and condemnation are, selfless Love does not abide. It resides only in the heart that has ceased from all condemnation. You say, "How can I love the drunkard, the hypocrite, the sneak, the murderer? I am compelled to dislike and condemn such men." It is true you cannot love such men emotionally, but when you say that you must perforce dislike and condemn them you show that you are not acquainted with the Great over-ruling Love; for it is possible to attain to such a state of interior enlightenment as will enable you to perceive the train of causes by which these men have become as they are, to enter into their intense sufferings, and to know the certainty of their ultimate purification. Possessed of such knowledge it will be utterly impossible for you any longer to dislike or condemn them, and you will always think of them with perfect calmness and deep compassion. If you love people and speak of them with praise until they in some way thwart you, or do something of which you disapprove, and then you dislike them and speak of them with dispraise, you are not
  • 82. governed by the Love which is of God. If, in your heart, you are continually arraigning and condemning others, selfless Love is hidden from you. He who knows that Love is at the heart of all things, and has realized the all-sufficing power of that Love, has no room in his heart for condemnation. Men, not knowing this Love, constitute themselves judge and executioner of their fellows, forgetting that there is the Eternal Judge and Executioner, and in so far as men deviate from them in their own views, their particular reforms and methods, they brand them as fanatical, unbalanced, lacking judgment, sincerity, and honesty; in so far as others approximate to their own standard do they look upon them as being everything that is admirable. Such are the men who are centered in self. But he whose heart is centered in the supreme Love does not so brand and classify men; does not seek to convert men to his own views, not to convince them of the superiority of his methods. Knowing the Law of Love, he lives it, and maintains the same calm attitude of mind and sweetness of heart toward all. The debased and the virtuous, the foolish and the wise, the learned and the unlearned, the selfish and the unselfish receive alike the benediction of his tranquil thought. You can only attain to this supreme knowledge, this divine Love by unremitting endeavor in self- discipline, and by gaining victory after victory over yourself. Only the pure in heart see God, and when your heart is sufficiently purified you will enter into the New Birth, and the Love that does not die, nor change, nor end in pain and sorrow will be awakened within you, and you will be at peace. He who strives for the attainment of divine Love is ever seeking to overcome the spirit of condemnation, for where there is pure spiritual knowledge, condemnation cannot exist, and only in the heart that has become incapable of condemnation is Love perfected and fully realized. The Christian condemns the Atheist; the Atheist satirizes the Christian; the Catholic and Protestant are ceaselessly engaged in wordy warfare, and the spirit of strife and hatred rules where peace and love should be. "He that hateth his brother is a murderer," a crucifier of the divine Spirit of Love; and until you can regard men of all religions and of no religion with the same impartial spirit, with all freedom from dislike, and with perfect equanimity, you have yet to strive for that Love which bestows upon its possessor freedom and salvation. The realization of divine knowledge, selfless Love, utterly destroys the spirit of condemnation, disperses all evil, and lifts the consciousness to that height of pure vision where Love, Goodness, Justice are seen to be universal, supreme, all-conquering, indestructible. Train your mind in strong, impartial, and gentle thought; train your heart in purity and compassion; train your tongue to silence and to true and stainless speech; so shall you enter the way of holiness and peace, and shall ultimately realize the immortal Love. So living, without seeking to convert, you will convince; without arguing, you will teach; not cherishing ambition, the wise will find you out; and without striving to gain men‘s opinions, you will subdue their hearts. For Love is all-conquering, all- powerful; and the thoughts, and deeds, and words of Love can never perish. To know that Love is universal, supreme, all-sufficing; to be freed from the trammels of evil; to be quit of the inward unrest; to know that all men are striving to realize the Truth each in his own way; to be satisfied, sorrowless, serene; this is peace; this is gladness; this is immortality; this is Divinity; this is the realization of selfless Love. I stood upon the shore, and saw the rocks Resist the onslaught of the mighty sea, And when I thought how all the countless shocks
  • 83. They had withstood through an eternity, I said, "To wear away this solid main The ceaseless efforts of the waves are vain." But when I thought how they the rocks had rent, And saw the sand and shingles at my feet (Poor passive remnants of resistance spent) Tumbled and tossed where they the waters meet, Then saw I ancient landmarks ‘neath the waves, And knew the waters held the stones their slaves. I saw the mighty work the waters wrought By patient softness and unceasing flow; How they the proudest promontory brought Unto their feet, and massy hills laid low; How the soft drops the adamantine wall Conquered at last, and brought it to its fall. And then I knew that hard, resisting sin Should yield at last to Love‘s soft ceaseless roll Coming and going, ever flowing in Upon the proud rocks of the human soul; That all resistance should be spent and past, And every heart yield unto it at last. 5. Entering into the infinite From the beginning of time, man, in spite of his bodily appetites and desires, in the midst of all his clinging to earthly and impermanent things, has ever been intuitively conscious of the limited, transient, and illusionary nature of his material existence, and in his sane and silent moments has tried to reach out into a comprehension of the Infinite, and has turned with tearful aspiration toward the restful Reality of the Eternal Heart. While vainly imagining that the pleasures of earth are real and satisfying, pain and sorrow continually remind him of their unreal and unsatisfying nature. Ever striving to believe that complete satisfaction is to be found in material things, he is conscious of an inward and persistent revolt against this belief, which revolt is at once a refutation of his essential mortality, and an inherent and imperishable proof that only in the immortal, the eternal, the infinite can he find abiding satisfaction and unbroken peace. And here is the common ground of faith; here the root and spring of all religion; here the soul of Brotherhood and the heart of Love,--that man is essentially and spiritually divine and eternal, and that, immersed in mortality and troubled with unrest, he is ever striving to enter into a consciousness of his real nature. The spirit of man is inseparable from the Infinite, and can be satisfied with nothing short of the Infinite, and the burden of pain will continue to weigh upon man‘s heart, and the shadows of sorrow to darken his pathway until, ceasing from his wanderings in the dream-world of matter, he comes back to his home in the reality of the Eternal. As the smallest drop of water detached from the ocean contains all the qualities of the ocean, so man, detached in consciousness from the Infinite, contains within him its likeness; and as the drop of water
  • 84. must, by the law of its nature, ultimately find its way back to the ocean and lose itself in its silent depths, so must man, by the unfailing law of his nature, at last return to his source, and lose himself in the great ocean of the Infinite. To re-become one with the Infinite is the goal of man. To enter into perfect harmony with the Eternal Law is Wisdom, Love and Peace. But this divine state is, and must ever be, incomprehensible to the merely personal. Personality, separateness, selfishness are one and the same, and are the antithesis of wisdom and divinity. By the unqualified surrender of the personality, separateness and selfishness cease, and man enters into the possession of his divine heritage of immortality and infinity. Such surrender of the personality is regarded by the worldly and selfish mind as the most grievous of all calamities, the most irreparable loss, yet it is the one supreme and incomparable blessing, the only real and lasting gain. The mind unenlightened upon the inner laws of being, and upon the nature and destiny of its own life, clings to transient appearances, things which have in them no enduring substantiality, and so clinging, perishes, for the time being, amid the shattered wreckage of its own illusions. Men cling to and gratify the flesh as though it were going to last for ever, and though they try to forget the nearness and inevitability of its dissolution, the dread of death and of the loss of all that they cling to clouds their happiest hours, and the chilling shadow of their own selfishness follows them like a remorseless specter. And with the accumulation of temporal comforts and luxuries, the divinity within men is drugged, and they sink deeper and deeper into materiality, into the perishable life of the senses, and where there is sufficient intellect, theories concerning the immortality of the flesh come to be regarded as infallible truths. When a man‘s soul is clouded with selfishness in any or every form, he loses the power of spiritual discrimination, and confuses the temporal with the eternal, the perishable with the permanent, mortality with immortality, and error with Truth. It is thus that the world has come to be filled with theories and speculations having no foundation in human experience. Every body of flesh contains within itself, from the hour of birth, the elements of its own destruction, and by the unalterable law of its own nature must it pass away. The perishable in the universe can never become permanent; the permanent can never pass away; the mortal can never become immortal; the immortal can never die; the temporal cannot become eternal nor the eternal become temporal; appearance can never become reality, nor reality fade into appearance; error can never become Truth, nor can Truth become error. Man cannot immortalize the flesh, but, by overcoming the flesh, by relinquishing all its inclinations, he can enter the region of immortality. "God alone hath immortality," and only by realizing the God state of consciousness does man enter into immortality. All nature in its myriad forms of life is changeable, impermanent, unenduring. Only the informing Principle of nature endures. Nature is many, and is marked by separation. The informing Principle is One, and is marked by unity. By overcoming the senses and the selfishness within, which is the overcoming of nature, man emerges from the chrysalis of the personal and illusory, and wings himself into the glorious light of the impersonal, the region of universal Truth, out of which all perishable forms come. Let men, therefore, practice self-denial; let them conquer their animal inclinations; let them refuse to be enslaved by luxury and pleasure; let them practice virtue, and grow daily into high and ever higher virtue, until at last they grow into the Divine, and enter into both the practice and the comprehension of humility, meekness, forgiveness, compassion, and love, which practice and comprehension constitute Divinity.
  • 85. "Good-will gives insight," and only he who has so conquered his personality that he has but one attitude of mind, that of good-will, toward all creatures, is possessed of divine insight, and is capable of distinguishing the true from the false. The supremely good man is, therefore, the wise man, the divine man, the enlightened seer, the knower of the Eternal. Where you find unbroken gentleness, enduring patience, sublime lowliness, graciousness of speech, self-control, self-forgetfulness, and deep and abounding sympathy, look there for the highest wisdom, seek the company of such a one, for he has realized the Divine, he lives with the Eternal, he has become one with the Infinite. Believe not him that is impatient, given to anger, boastful, who clings to pleasure and refuses to renounce his selfish gratifications, and who practices not good-will and far-reaching compassion, for such a one hath not wisdom, vain is all his knowledge, and his works and words will perish, for they are grounded on that which passes away. Let a man abandon self, let him overcome the world, let him deny the personal; by this pathway only can he enter into the heart of the Infinite. The world, the body, the personality are mirages upon the desert of time; transitory dreams in the dark night of spiritual slumber, and those who have crossed the desert, those who are spiritually awakened, have alone comprehended the Universal Reality where all appearances are dispersed and dreaming and delusion are destroyed. There is one Great Law which exacts unconditional obedience, one unifying principle which is the basis of all diversity, one eternal Truth wherein all the problems of earth pass away like shadows. To realize this Law, this Unity, this Truth, is to enter into the Infinite, is to become one with the Eternal. To center one‘s life in the Great Law of Love is to enter into rest, harmony, peace. To refrain from all participation in evil and discord; to cease from all resistance to evil, and from the omission of that which is good, and to fall back upon unswerving obedience to the holy calm within, is to enter into the inmost heart of things, is to attain to a living, conscious experience of that eternal and infinite principle which must ever remain a hidden mystery to the merely perceptive intellect. Until this principle is realized, the soul is not established in peace, and he who so realizes is truly wise; not wise with the wisdom of the learned, but with the simplicity of a blameless heart and of a divine manhood. To enter into a realization of the Infinite and Eternal is to rise superior to time, and the world, and the body, which comprise the kingdom of darkness; and is to become established in immortality, Heaven, and the Spirit, which make up the Empire of Light. Entering into the Infinite is not a mere theory or sentiment. It is a vital experience which is the result of assiduous practice in inward purification. When the body is no longer believed to be, even remotely, the real man; when all appetites and desires are thoroughly subdued and purified; when the emotions are rested and calm, and when the oscillation of the intellect ceases and perfect poise is secured, then, and not till then, does consciousness become one with the Infinite; not until then is childlike wisdom and profound peace secured. Men grow weary and gray over the dark problems of life, and finally pass away and leave them unsolved because they cannot see their way out of the darkness of the personality, being too much engrossed in its limitations. Seeking to save his personal life, man forfeits the greater impersonal Life in Truth; clinging to the perishable, he is shut out from a knowledge of the Eternal. By the surrender of self all difficulties are overcome, and there is no error in the universe but the fire of inward sacrifice will burn it up like chaff; no problem, however great, but will disappear like a shadow under the searching light of self-abnegation. Problems exist only in our own self-created illusions, and they vanish away when self is yielded up. Self and error are synonymous. Error is involved in the darkness of unfathomable complexity, but eternal simplicity is the glory of Truth.
  • 86. Love of self shuts men out from Truth, and seeking their own personal happiness they lose the deeper, purer, and more abiding bliss. Says Carlyle--"There is in man a higher than love of happiness. He can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness. ... Love not pleasure, love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him." He who has yielded up that self, that personality that men most love, and to which they cling with such fierce tenacity, has left behind him all perplexity, and has entered into a simplicity so profoundly simple as to be looked upon by the world, involved as it is in a network of error, as foolishness. Yet such a one has realized the highest wisdom, and is at rest in the Infinite. He "accomplishes without striving," and all problems melt before him, for he has entered the region of reality, and deals, not with changing effects, but with the unchanging principles of things. He is enlightened with a wisdom which is as superior to ratiocination, as reason is to animality. Having yielded up his lusts, his errors, his opinions and prejudices, he has entered into possession of the knowledge of God, having slain the selfish desire for heaven, and along with it the ignorant fear of hell; having relinquished even the love of life itself, he has gained supreme bliss and Life Eternal, the Life which bridges life and death, and knows its own immortality. Having yielded up all without reservation, he has gained all, and rests in peace on the bosom of the Infinite. Only he who has become so free from self as to be equally content to be annihilated as to live, or to live as to be annihilated, is fit to enter into the Infinite. Only he who, ceasing to trust his perishable self, has learned to trust in boundless measure the Great Law, the Supreme Good, is prepared to partake of undying bliss. For such a one there is no more regret, nor disappointment, nor remorse, for where all selfishness has ceased these sufferings cannot be; and whatever happens to him he knows that it is for his own good, and he is content, being no longer the servant of self, but the servant of the Supreme. He is no longer affected by the changes of earth, and when he hears of wars and rumors of wars his peace is not disturbed, and where men grow angry and cynical and quarrelsome, he bestows compassion and love. Though appearances may contradict it, he knows that the world is progressing, and that "Through its laughing and its weeping, Through its living and its keeping, Through its follies and its labors, weaving in and out of sight, To the end from the beginning, Through all virtue and all sinning, Reeled from God‘s great spool of Progress, runs the golden thread of light." When a fierce storm is raging none are angered about it, because they know it will quickly pass away, and when the storms of contention are devastating the world, the wise man, looking with the eye of Truth and pity, knows that it will pass away, and that out of the wreckage of broken hearts which it leaves behind the immortal Temple of Wisdom will be built. Sublimely patient; infinitely compassionate; deep, silent, and pure, his very presence is a benediction; and when he speaks men ponder his words in their hearts, and by them rise to higher levels of attainment. Such is he who has entered into the Infinite, who by the power of utmost sacrifice has solved the sacred mystery of life. Questioning Life and Destiny and Truth, I sought the dark and labyrinthine Sphinx, Who spake to me this strange and wondrous thing:--
  • 87. "Concealment only lies in blinded eyes, And God alone can see the Form of God." I sought to solve this hidden mystery Vainly by paths of blindness and of pain, But when I found the Way of Love and Peace, Concealment ceased, and I was blind no more: Then saw I God e‘en with the eyes of God. 6. Saints, sages, and saviors: the law of service The spirit of Love which is manifested as a perfect and rounded life, is the crown of being and the supreme end of knowledge upon this earth. The measure of a man‘s truth is the measure of his love, and Truth is far removed from him whose life is not governed by Love. The intolerant and condemnatory, even though they profess the highest religion, have the smallest measure of Truth; while those who exercise patience, and who listen calmly and dispassionately to all sides, and both arrive themselves at, and incline others to, thoughtful and unbiased conclusions upon all problems and issues, have Truth in fullest measure. The final test of wisdom is this,--how does a man live? What spirit does he manifest? How does he act under trial and temptation? Many men boast of being in possession of Truth who are continually swayed by grief, disappointment, and passion, and who sink under the first little trial that comes along. Truth is nothing if not unchangeable, and in so far as a man takes his stand upon Truth does he become steadfast in virtue, does he rise superior to his passions and emotions and changeable personality. Men formulate perishable dogmas, and call them Truth. Truth cannot be formulated; it is ineffable, and ever beyond the reach of intellect. It can only be experienced by practice; it can only be manifested as a stainless heart and a perfect life. Who, then, in the midst of the ceaseless pandemonium of schools and creeds and parties, has the Truth? He who lives it. He who practices it. He who, having risen above that pandemonium by overcoming himself, no longer engages in it, but sits apart, quiet, subdued, calm, and self-possessed, freed from all strife, all bias, all condemnation, and bestows upon all the glad and unselfish love of the divinity within him. He who is patient, calm, gentle, and forgiving under all circumstances, manifests the Truth. Truth will never be proved by wordy arguments and learned treatises, for if men do not perceive the Truth in infinite patience, undying forgiveness, and all-embracing compassion, no words can ever prove it to them. It is an easy matter for the passionate to be calm and patient when they are alone, or are in the midst of calmness. It is equally easy for the uncharitable to be gentle and kind when they are dealt kindly with, but he who retains his patience and calmness under all trial, who remains sublimely meek and gentle under the most trying circumstances, he, and he alone, is possessed of the spotless Truth. And this is so because such lofty virtues belong to the Divine, and can only be manifested by one who has attained to the highest wisdom, who has relinquished his passionate and self-seeking nature, who has realized the supreme and unchangeable Law, and has brought himself into harmony with it. Let men, therefore, cease from vain and passionate arguments about Truth, and let them think and say and do those things which make for harmony, peace, love, and good-will. Let them practice heart- virtue, and search humbly and diligently for the Truth which frees the soul from all error and sin, from all that blights the human heart, and that darkens, as with unending night, the pathway of the wandering
  • 88. souls of earth. There is one great all-embracing Law which is the foundation and cause of the universe, the Law of Love. It has been called by many names in various countries and at various times, but behind all its names the same unalterable Law may be discovered by the eye of Truth. Names, religions, personalities pass away, but the Law of Love remains. To become possessed of a knowledge of this Law, to enter into conscious harmony with it, is to become immortal, invincible, indestructible. It is because of the effort of the soul to realize this Law that men come again and again to live, to suffer, and to die; and when realized, suffering ceases, personality is dispersed, and the fleshly life and death are destroyed, for consciousness becomes one with the Eternal. The Law is absolutely impersonal, and its highest manifested expression is that of Service. When the purified heart has realized Truth it is then called upon to make the last, the greatest and holiest sacrifice, the sacrifice of the well-earned enjoyment of Truth. It is by virtue of this sacrifice that the divinely- emancipated soul comes to dwell among men, clothed with a body of flesh, content to dwell among the lowliest and least, and to be esteemed the servant of all mankind. That sublime humility which is manifested by the world‘s saviors is the seal of Godhead, and he who has annihilated the personality, and has become a living, visible manifestation of the impersonal, eternal, boundless Spirit of Love, is alone singled out as worthy to receive the unstinted worship of posterity. He only who succeeds in humbling himself with that divine humility which is not only the extinction of self, but is also the pouring out upon all the spirit of unselfish love, is exalted above measure, and given spiritual dominion in the hearts of mankind. All the great spiritual teachers have denied themselves personal luxuries, comforts, and rewards, have abjured temporal power, and have lived and taught the limitless and impersonal Truth. Compare their lives and teachings, and you will find the same simplicity, the same self-sacrifice, the same humility, love, and peace both lived and preached by them. They taught the same eternal Principles, the realization of which destroys all evil. Those who have been hailed and worshiped as the saviors of mankind are manifestations of the Great impersonal Law, and being such, were free from passion and prejudice, and having no opinions, and no special letter of doctrine to preach and defend, they never sought to convert and to proselytize. Living in the highest Goodness, the supreme Perfection, their sole object was to uplift mankind by manifesting that Goodness in thought, word, and deed. They stand between man the personal and God the impersonal, and serve as exemplary types for the salvation of self-enslaved mankind. Men who are immersed in self, and who cannot comprehend the Goodness that is absolutely impersonal, deny divinity to all saviors except their own, and thus introduce personal hatred and doctrinal controversy, and, while defending their own particular views with passion, look upon each other as being heathens or infidels, and so render null and void, as far as their lives are concerned, the unselfish beauty and holy grandeur of the lives and teachings of their own Masters. Truth cannot be limited; it can never be the special prerogative of any man, school, or nation, and when personality steps in, Truth is lost. The glory alike of the saint, the sage, and the savior is this,--that he has realized the most profound lowliness, the most sublime unselfishness; having given up all, even his own personality, all his works are holy and enduring, for they are freed from every taint of self. He gives, yet never thinks of receiving; he works without regretting the past or anticipating the future, and never looks for reward. When the farmer has tilled and dressed his land and put in the seed, he knows that he has done all that he can possibly do, and that now he must trust to the elements, and wait patiently for the course of time to bring about the harvest, and that no amount of expectancy on his part will affect the result. Even so, he who has realized Truth goes forth as a sower of the seeds of goodness, purity, love and peace,
  • 89. without expectancy, and never looking for results, knowing that there is the Great Over-ruling Law which brings about its own harvest in due time, and which is alike the source of preservation and destruction. Men, not understanding the divine simplicity of a profoundly unselfish heart, look upon their particular savior as the manifestation of a special miracle, as being something entirely apart and distinct from the nature of things, and as being, in his ethical excellence, eternally unapproachable by the whole of mankind. This attitude of unbelief (for such it is) in the divine perfectibility of man, paralyzes effort, and binds the souls of men as with strong ropes to sin and suffering. Jesus "grew in wisdom" and was "perfected by suffering." What Jesus was, he became such; what Buddha was, he became such; and every holy man became such by unremitting perseverance in self-sacrifice. Once recognize this, once realize that by watchful effort and hopeful perseverance you can rise above your lower nature, and great and glorious will be the vistas of attainment that will open out before you. Buddha vowed that he would not relax his efforts until he arrived at the state of perfection, and he accomplished his purpose. What the saints, sages, and saviors have accomplished, you likewise may accomplish if you will only tread the way which they trod and pointed out, the way of self-sacrifice, of self-denying service. Truth is very simple. It says, "Give up self," "Come unto Me" (away from all that defiles) "and I will give you rest." All the mountains of commentary that have been piled upon it cannot hide it from the heart that is earnestly seeking for Righteousness. It does not require learning; it can be known in spite of learning. Disguised under many forms by erring self-seeking man, the beautiful simplicity and clear transparency of Truth remains unaltered and undimmed, and the unselfish heart enters into and partakes of its shining radiance. Not by weaving complex theories, not by building up speculative philosophies is Truth realized; but by weaving the web of inward purity, by building up the Temple of a stainless life is Truth realized. He who enters upon this holy way begins by restraining his passions. This is virtue, and is the beginning of saintship, and saintship is the beginning of holiness. The entirely worldly man gratifies all his desires, and practices no more restraint than the law of the land in which he lives demands; the virtuous man restrains his passions; the saint attacks the enemy of Truth in its stronghold within his own heart, and restrains all selfish and impure thoughts; while the holy man is he who is free from passion and all impure thought, and to whom goodness and purity have become as natural as scent and color are to the flower. The holy man is divinely wise; he alone knows Truth in its fullness, and has entered into abiding rest and peace. For him evil has ceased; it has disappeared in the universal light of the All-Good. Holiness is the badge of wisdom. Said Krishna to the Prince Arjuna-- "Humbleness, truthfulness, and harmlessness, Patience and honor, reverence for the wise, Purity, constancy, control of self, Contempt of sense-delights, self-sacrifice, Perception of the certitude of ill In birth, death, age, disease, suffering and sin; An ever tranquil heart in fortunes good And fortunes evil, ... ... Endeavors resolute To reach perception of the utmost soul, And grace to understand what gain it were So to attain--this is true wisdom, Prince! And what is otherwise is ignorance!"
  • 90. Whoever fights ceaselessly against his own selfishness, and strives to supplant it with all-embracing love, is a saint, whether he live in a cottage or in the midst of riches and influence; or whether he preaches or remains obscure. To the worldling, who is beginning to aspire towards higher things, the saint, such as a sweet St. Francis of Assisi, or a conquering St. Anthony, is a glorious and inspiring spectacle; to the saint, an equally enrapturing sight is that of the sage, sitting serene and holy, the conqueror of sin and sorrow, no more tormented by regret and remorse, and whom even temptation can never reach; and yet even the sage is drawn on by a still more glorious vision, that of the savior actively manifesting his knowledge in selfless works, and rendering his divinity more potent for good by sinking himself in the throbbing, sorrowing, aspiring heart of mankind. And this only is true service--to forget oneself in love towards all, to lose oneself in working for the whole. O thou vain and foolish man, who thinkest that thy many works can save thee; who, chained to all error, talkest loudly of thyself, thy work, and thy many sacrifices, and magnifiest thine own importance; know this, that though thy fame fill the whole earth, all thy work shall come to dust, and thou thyself be reckoned lower than the least in the Kingdom of Truth! Only the work that is impersonal can live; the works of self are both powerless and perishable. Where duties, howsoever humble, are done without self-interest, and with joyful sacrifice, there is true service and enduring work. Where deeds, however brilliant and apparently successful, are done from love of self, there is ignorance of the Law of Service, and the work perishes. It is given to the world to learn one great and divine lesson, the lesson of absolute unselfishness. The saints, sages, and saviors of all time are they who have submitted themselves to this task, and have learned and lived it. All the Scriptures of the world are framed to teach this one lesson; all the great teachers reiterate it. It is too simple for the world which, scorning it, stumbles along in the complex ways of selfishness. A pure heart is the end of all religion and the beginning of divinity. To search for this Righteousness is to walk the Way of Truth and Peace, and he who enters this Way will soon perceive that Immortality which is independent of birth and death, and will realize that in the Divine economy of the universe the humblest effort is not lost. The divinity of a Krishna, a Gautama, or a Jesus is the crowning glory of self-abnegation, the end of the soul‘s pilgrimage in matter and mortality, and the world will not have finished its long journey until every soul has become as these, and has entered into the blissful realization of its own divinity. Great glory crowns the heights of hope by arduous struggle won; Bright honor rounds the hoary head that mighty works hath done; Fair riches come to him who strives in ways of golden gain. And fame enshrines his name who works with genius-glowing brain; But greater glory waits for him who, in the bloodless strife ‘Gainst self and wrong, adopts, in love, the sacrificial life; And brighter honor rounds the brow of him who, ‘mid the scorns Of blind idolaters of self, accepts the crown of thorns; And fairer purer riches come to him who greatly strives To walk in ways of love and truth to sweeten human lives; And he who serveth well mankind exchanges fleeting fame For Light eternal, Joy and Peace, and robes of heavenly flame.
  • 91. 7. The realization of perfect peace In the external universe there is ceaseless turmoil, change, and unrest; at the heart of all things there is undisturbed repose; in this deep silence dwelleth the Eternal. Man partakes of this duality, and both the surface change and disquietude, and the deep-seated eternal abode of Peace, are contained within him. As there are silent depths in the ocean which the fiercest storm cannot reach, so there are silent, holy depths in the heart of man which the storms of sin and sorrow can never disturb. To reach this silence and to live consciously in it is peace. Discord is rife in the outward world, but unbroken harmony holds sway at the heart of the universe. The human soul, torn by discordant passion and grief, reaches blindly toward the harmony of the sinless state, and to reach this state and to live consciously in it is peace. Hatred severs human lives, fosters persecution, and hurls nations into ruthless war, yet men, though they do not understand why, retain some measure of faith in the overshadowing of a Perfect Love; and to reach this Love and to live consciously in it is peace. And this inward peace, this silence, this harmony, this Love, is the Kingdom of Heaven, which is so difficult to reach because few are willing to give up themselves and to become as little children. "Heaven‘s gate is very narrow and minute, It cannot be perceived by foolish men Blinded by vain illusions of the world; E‘en the clear-sighted who discern the way, And seek to enter, find the portal barred, And hard to be unlocked. Its massive bolts Are pride and passion, avarice and lust." Men cry peace! peace! where there is no peace, but on the contrary, discord, disquietude and strife. Apart from that Wisdom which is inseparable from self-renunciation, there can be no real and abiding peace. The peace which results from social comfort, passing gratification, or worldly victory is transitory in its nature, and is burnt up in the heat of fiery trial. Only the Peace of Heaven endures through all trial, and only the selfless heart can know the Peace of Heaven. Holiness alone is undying peace. Self-control leads to it, and the ever-increasing Light of Wisdom guides the pilgrim on his way. It is partaken of in a measure as soon as the path of virtue is entered upon, but it is only realized in its fullness when self disappears in the consummation of a stainless life. "This is peace, To conquer love of self and lust of life, To tear deep-rooted passion from the heart To still the inward strife." If, O reader! you would realize the Light that never fades, the Joy that never ends, and the tranquillity that cannot be disturbed; if you would leave behind for ever your sins, your sorrows, your anxieties and perplexities; if, I say, you would partake of this salvation, this supremely glorious Life, then conquer yourself. Bring every thought, every impulse, every desire into perfect obedience to the divine power resident within you. There is no other way to peace but this, and if you refuse to walk it, your much praying and your strict adherence to ritual will be fruitless and unavailing, and neither gods nor angels
  • 92. can help you. Only to him that overcometh is given the white stone of the regenerate life, on which is written the New and Ineffable Name. Come away, for awhile, from external things, from the pleasures of the senses, from the arguments of the intellect, from the noise and the excitements of the world, and withdraw yourself into the inmost chamber of your heart, and there, free from the sacrilegious intrusion of all selfish desires, you will find a deep silence, a holy calm, a blissful repose, and if you will rest awhile in that holy place, and will meditate there, the faultless eye of Truth will open within you, and you will see things as they really are. This holy place within you is your real and eternal self; it is the divine within you; and only when you identify yourself with it can you be said to be "clothed and in your right mind." It is the abode of peace, the temple of wisdom, the dwelling-place of immortality. Apart from this inward resting-place, this Mount of Vision, there can be no true peace, no knowledge of the Divine, and if you can remain there for one minute, one hour, or one day, it is possible for you to remain there always. All your sins and sorrows, your fears and anxieties are your own, and you can cling to them or you can give them up. Of your own accord you cling to your unrest; of your own accord you can come to abiding peace. No one else can give up sin for you; you must give it up yourself. The greatest teacher can do no more than walk the way of Truth for himself, and point it out to you; you yourself must walk it for yourself. You can obtain freedom and peace alone by your own efforts, by yielding up that which binds the soul, and which is destructive of peace. The angels of divine peace and joy are always at hand, and if you do not see them, and hear them, and dwell with them, it is because you shut yourself out from them, and prefer the company of the spirits of evil within you. You are what you will to be, what you wish to be, what you prefer to be. You can commence to purify yourself, and by so doing can arrive at peace, or you can refuse to purify yourself, and so remain with suffering. Step aside, then; come out of the fret and the fever of life; away from the scorching heat of self, and enter the inward resting-place where the cooling airs of peace will calm, renew, and restore you. Come out of the storms of sin and anguish. Why be troubled and tempest-tossed when the haven of Peace of God is yours! Give up all self-seeking; give up self, and lo! the Peace of God is yours! Subdue the animal within you; conquer every selfish uprising, every discordant voice; transmute the base metals of your selfish nature into the unalloyed gold of Love, and you shall realize the Life of Perfect Peace. Thus subduing, thus conquering, thus transmuting, you will, O reader! while living in the flesh, cross the dark waters of mortality, and will reach that Shore upon which the storms of sorrow never beat, and where sin and suffering and dark uncertainty cannot come. Standing upon that Shore, holy, compassionate, awakened, and self-possessed and glad with unending gladness, you will realize that "Never the Spirit was born, the Spirit will cease to be never; Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams; Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the Spirit for ever; Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems." You will then know the meaning of Sin, of Sorrow, of Suffering, and that the end thereof is Wisdom; will know the cause and the issue of existence. And with this realization you will enter into rest, for this is the bliss of immortality, this the unchangeable gladness, this the untrammeled knowledge, undefiled Wisdom, and undying Love; this, and this only, is the realization of Perfect Peace.
  • 93. O thou who wouldst teach men of Truth! Hast thou passed through the desert of doubt? Art thou purged by the fires of sorrow? hath ruth The fiends of opinion cast out Of thy human heart? Is thy soul so fair That no false thought can ever harbor there? O thou who wouldst teach men of Love! Hast thou passed through the place of despair? Hast thou wept through the dark night of grief? does it move (Now freed from its sorrow and care) Thy human heart to pitying gentleness, Looking on wrong, and hate, and ceaseless stress? O thou who wouldst teach men of Peace! Hast thou crossed the wide ocean of strife? Hast thou found on the Shores of the Silence, Release from all the wild unrest of life? From thy human heart hath all striving gone, Leaving but Truth, and Love, and Peace alone? Foundation stones to happiness and success. By James Allen. Contents 1. Foreword 2. Right principles 3. Sound methods 4. True actions 5. True speech 6. Equal-mindedness 7. Good results Editor’s preface This is one of the last MSS. written by James Allen. Like all his works it is eminently practical. He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing, or to add another to his many books; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice. To live out the teaching of this book faithfully in every detail of life will lead one to more than happiness and success — even to Blessedness, Satisfaction and Peace. LILY L. ALLEN ―Bryngoleu,‖ Ilfracombe,
  • 94. England. Foreword How does a man begin the building of a house? He first secures a plan of the proposed edifice, and then proceeds to build according to the plan, scrupulously following it in every detail, beginning with the foundation. Should he neglect the beginning - the beginning on a mathematical plan - his labour would be wasted, and his building, should it reach completion without tumbling to pieces, would be insecure and worthless. The same law holds good in any important work; the right beginning and first essential is a definite mental plan on which to build. Nature will have no slipshod work, no slovenliness and she annihilates confusion, or rather, confusion is in itself annihilated. Order, definiteness, purpose, eternally prevail, and he who in his operations ignores these mathematical elements at once deprives himself of substantiality, completeness, happiness and success. JAMES ALLEN 1. Right principles It is wise to know what comes first, and what to do first. To begin anything in the middle or at the end is to make a muddle of it. The athlete who began by breaking the tape would not receive the prize. He must begin by facing the starter and toeing the mark, and even then a good start is important if he is to win. The pupil does not begin with algebra and literature, but with counting and ABC. So in life – the businessmen who begin at the bottom achieve the more enduring success; and the religious men who reach the highest heights of spiritual knowledge and wisdom are they who have stooped to serve a patient apprenticeship to the humbler tasks, and have not scorned the common experiences of humanity, or overlooked the lessons to be learned from them. The first things in a sound life - and therefore, in a truly happy and successful life - are right principles. Without right principles to begin with, there will be wrong practices to follow with, and a bungled and wretched life to end with. All the infinite variety of calculations which tabulate the commerce and science of the world, come out of the ten figures; all the hundreds of thousands of books which constitute the literature of the world, and perpetuate its thought and genius, are built up from the twenty-six letters. The greatest astronomer cannot ignore the ten simple figures. The profoundest man of genius cannot dispense with the twenty-six simple characters. The fundamentals in all things are few and simple: yet without them there is no knowledge and no achievement. The fundamentals - the basic principles - in life, or true living, are also few and simple, and to learn them thoroughly, and study how to apply them to all the details of life, is to avoid confusion, and to secure a substantial foundation for the orderly building up of an invincible character and a permanent success; and to succeed in comprehending those principles in their innumerable ramifications in the labyrinth of conduct, is to become a Master of Life. The first principles in life are principles of conduct. To name them is easy. As mere words they are on all men‘s lips, but as fixed sources of action, admitting of no compromise, few have learned them. In this short talk I will deal with five only of these principles. These five are among the simplest of the root principles of life, but they are those that come nearest to the everyday life, for they touch the artisan the businessman, the householder, the citizen at every point. Not one of them can be dispensed with but at severe cost, and he who perfects himself in their application will rise superior to many of the troubles and failures of life, and will come into these springs and currents of thought which flow harmoniously towards the regions of enduring success. The first of these principles is - DUTY - A much-hackneyed word, I know, but it contains a rare jewel for him who will seek it by
  • 95. assiduous application. The principle of duty means strict adherence to one‘s own business, and just as strict non-interference in the business of others. The man who is continually instructing others, gratis, how to manage their affairs, is the one who most mismanages his own. Duty also means undivided attention to the matter in hand, intelligent concentration of the mind on the work to be done; it includes all that is meant by thoroughness, exactness, and efficiency. The details of duties differ with individuals, and each man should know his own duty better then he knows his neighbour‘s, and better than his neighbour knows his; but although the working details differ, the principle is always the same. Who has mastered the demands of duty? HONESTY is the next principle. It means not cheating or overcharging another. It involves the absence of all trickery, lying, and deception by word, look, or gesture. It includes sincerity, the saying what you mean, and the meaning what you say. It scorns cringing policy and shining compliment. It builds up good reputations, and good reputations build up good businesses, and bright joy accompanies well- earned success. Who has scaled the heights of Honesty? ECONOMY is the third principle. The conservation of one‘s financial resources is merely the vestibule leading towards the more spacious chambers of true economy. It means, as well, the husbanding of one‘s physical vitality and mental resources. It demands the conservation of energy by the avoidance of enervating self-indulgences and sensual habits. It holds for its follower strength, endurance, vigilance, and capacity to achieve. It bestows great power on him who learns it well. Who has realized the supreme strength of Economy? LIBERALITY follows economy. It is not opposed to it. Only the man of economy can afford to be generous. The spendthrift, whether in money, vitality, or mental energy, wasted so much on his own miserable pleasures as to have none left to bestow upon others. The giving of money is the smallest part of liberality. There is a giving of thoughts, and deeds, and sympathy, the bestowing of goodwill, the being generous towards calumniators and opponents. It is a principle that begets a noble, far- reaching influence. It brings loving friends and staunch comrades, and is the foe of loneliness and despair. Who has measured the breadth of Liberality? SELF–CONTROL is the last of these five principles, yet the most important. Its neglect is the cause of vast misery, innumerable failures, and tens of thousands of financial, physical, and mental wrecks. Show me the businessman who loses his temper with a customer over some trivial matter, and I will show you a man who, by that condition of mind, is doomed to failure. If all men practised even the initial stages of self-control, anger, with its consuming and destroying fire, would be unknown. The lessons of patience, purity, gentleness, kindness, and steadfastness, which are contained in the principle of self-control, are slowly learned by men, yet until they are truly learned a man‘s character and success are uncertain and insecure. Where is the man who has perfected himself in Self-Control? Where he may be, he is a master indeed. The five principles are five practices, five avenues to achievement, and five source of knowledge. It is an old saying and a good rule that ―Practice makes perfect,‖ and he who would make his own the wisdom which is inherent in those principles, must not merely have them on his lips, they must be established in his heart. To know them and receive what they alone can bring, he must do them, and give them out in his actions. 2. Sound methods From the five foregoing Right Principles, when they are truly apprehended and practised, will issue Sound Methods. Right principles are manifested in harmonious action, and method is to life what law is to the universe. Everywhere in the universe there is the harmonious adjustment of parts, and it is this symmetry and harmony that reveals a cosmos, as distinguished from chaos. So in human life, the
  • 96. difference between a true life and a false, between one purposeful and effective and one purposeless and weak, is one of method. The false life is an incoherent jumble of thoughts, passions, and actions; the true life is an orderly adjustment of all its parts. It is all the difference between a mass of lumber and a smoothly working efficient machine. A piece of machinery in perfect working order is not only a useful, but an admirable and attractive thing; but when its parts are all out of gear, and refuse to be readjusted, its usefulness and attractiveness are gone, and it is thrown on the scrap-heap. Likewise a life perfectly adjusted in all its parts so as to achieve the highest point of efficiency, is not only a powerful, but an excellent and beautiful thing; whereas a life confused, inconsistent, discordant, is a deplorable exhibition of wasted energy. If life is to be truly lived, method must enter into, and regulate, every detail of it, as it enters and regulates every detail of the wondrous universe of which we form a part. One of the distinguishing differences between a wise man and a foolish is, that the wise man pays careful attention to the smallest things, while the foolish man slurs over them, or neglects them altogether. Wisdom consists in maintaining things on their right relations, in keeping all things, the smallest as well as the greatest, in their proper places and times. To violate order is to produce confusion and discord, and unhappiness is but another name for discord. The good businessman knows that system is three parts of success, and that disorder means failure. The wise man knows that disciplined, methodical living is three parts of happiness, and that looseness means misery. What is a fool but one who thinks carelessly, acts rashly, and lives loosely? What is a wise man but one who thinks carefully, acts calmly, and lives consistently? The true method does not end with the orderly arrangement of the material things and external relations of life; this is but its beginning; it enters into the adjustment of the mind - the discipline of the passions, the elimination and choice of words in speech, the logical arrangement of the thoughts, and the selection of right actions. To achieve a life rendered sound, successful, and sweet by the pursuance of sound methods, one must begin, not by neglect of the little everyday things, but by assiduous attention to them. Thus the hour of rising is important, and its regularity significant; as also are the timing of retiring to rest, and the number of hours given to sleep. Between the regularity and irregularity of meals, and the care and carelessness with which they are eaten, is all the difference between a good and bad digestion (with all that this applies) and an irritable or comfortable frame of mind, with its train of good or bad consequences, for, attaching to these meal-times and meal-ways are matters of both physiological and psychological significance. The due division of hours for business and for play, not confusing the two, the orderly fitting in of all the details of one‘s business, times for solitude, for silent thought and for effective action, for eating and for abstinence - all these things must have their lawful place in the life of him whose ―daily round‖ is to proceed with the minimum degree of friction, who is to get the most of usefulness, influence, and joy out of life. But all this is but the beginning of that comprehensive method which embraces the whole life and being. When this smooth order and logical consistency is extended to the words and actions, to the thoughts and desires, then wisdom emerges from folly, and out of weakness comes power sublime. When a man so orders his mind as to produce a beautiful working harmony between all its parts, then he reaches the highest wisdom, the highest efficiency, the highest happiness. But this is the end; and he who would reach the end must begin at the beginning. He must systematise and render logical and smooth the smallest details of his life, proceeding step by step towards the finished accomplishment. But each step will yield its own particular measure of strength and gladness. To sum up, method produces that smoothness which goes with strength and efficiency. Discipline is method applied to the mind. It produces that calmness which goes with power and happiness. Method
  • 97. is working by rule; discipline is living by rule. But working and living are not separate; they are but two aspects of character, of life. Therefore, be orderly in work; be accurate in speech, be logical in thought. Between these and slovenliness, inaccuracy and confusion, is the difference between success and failure, music and discord, happiness and misery. The adoption of sound methods of working, acting, thinking – in a word, of living, is the surest and safest foundation for sound health, sound success, sound peace of mind. The foundation of unsound methods will be found to be unstable, and to yield fear and unrest even while it appears to succeed, and when its time of failure comes, it is grievous indeed. 3. True actions Following on Right Principles and Methods come True Actions. One who is striving to grasp true principles and work with sound methods will soon come to perceive that details of conduct cannot be overlooked - that, indeed, those details are fundamentally distinctive or creative, according to their nature, and are, therefore, of deep significance and comprehensive importance; and this perception and knowledge of the nature and power of passing actions will gradually open and grow within him as an added vision, a new revelation. As he acquires this insight his progress will be more rapid, his pathway in life more sure, his days more serene and peaceful; in all things he will go the true and direct way, unswayed and untroubled by the external forces that play around and about him. Not that he will be indifferent to the welfare and happiness of those about him; that is quite another thing; but he will be indifferent to their opinions, to their ignorance, to their ungoverned passions. By True Actions, indeed, is meant acting rightly towards others, and the right-doer knows that actions in accordance with truth are but for the happiness of those about him, and he will do them even though an occasion may arise when some one near to him may advise or implore him to do otherwise. True actions may easily be distinguished from false by all who wish so to distinguish in order that they may avoid false action, and adopt true. As in the material world we distinguish things by their form, colour, size, etc., choosing those things which we require, and putting by those things which are not useful to us, so in the spiritual world of deeds, we can distinguish between those that are bad and those that are good by their nature, their aim, and their effect and can choose and adopt those that are good, and ignore those that are bad. In all forms of progress, avoidance of the bad always precedes acceptance and knowledge of the good, just as a child at school learns to do its lessons right by having repeatedly pointed out to it how it has done them wrong. If one does not know what is wrong and how to avoid it, how can he know what is right and how to practise it? Bad, or untrue, actions are those that spring from a consideration of one‘s own happiness only, and ignore the happiness of others, that arise in violent disturbances of the mind and unlawful desires, or that call for concealment in order to avoid undesirable complications. Good or true actions are those that spring from a consideration for others, that arise in calm reason and harmonious thought framed on moral principles or that will not involve the doer in shameful consequences if brought into the full light of day. The right-doer will avoid those acts of personal pleasure and gratification which by their nature bring annoyance, pain, or suffering to others, no matter how insignificant those actions may appear to be. He will begin by putting away these; he will gain a knowledge of the unselfish and true by first sacrificing the selfish and untrue. He will learn not to speak or act in anger, or envy, or resentment, but will study how to control his mind, and will restore it to calmness before acting; and, most important of all, he will avoid, as he would the drinking of deadly poison, those acts of trickery, deceit, double-dealing, in order to gain some personal profit of advantage, and which lead, sooner or later, to exposure and shame
  • 98. for the doer of them. If a man is prompted to do a thing which he needs to conceal, and which he would not lawfully and frankly defend if it were examined of witness, he should know by that that it is a wrong act and therefore to be abandoned without a further moment‘s consideration. The carrying out of this principle of honesty and sincerity of action, too, will further lead him into such a path of thoughtfulness in right-doing as will enable him to avoid doing those things which would involve him in the deceptive practices of other people. Before signing papers, or entering into verbal or written arrangements, or engaging himself to others in any way at their request, particularly if they be strangers, he will first inquire into the nature of the work or undertaking, and so, enlightened, he will know exactly what to do, and will be fully aware of the import of his action. To the right-doer thoughtlessness is a crime. Thousands of actions done with good intent lead to disastrous consequences because they are acts of thoughtlessness, and it is well said ―that the way to hell is paved with good intentions.‖ The man of true actions is, above all things, thoughtful:- ―Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.‖ The term Thoughtlessness covers a wide field in the realm of deeds. It is only by increasing in thoughtfulness that a man can come to understand the nature of actions, and can, thereby, acquire the power of always doing that which is right. It is impossible for a man to be thoughtful and act foolishly. Thoughtfulness embraces wisdom. It is not enough that an action is prompted by a good impulse or intention; it must arise in thoughtful consideration if it is to be a true action; and the man who wishes to be permanently happy in himself and a power for good to others must concern himself only with true actions. ―I did it with the best of intentions,‖ is a poor excuse from one who has thoughtlessly involved himself in the wrong-doing of others. His bitter experience should teach him to act more thoughtfully in the future. True actions can only spring from a true mind, and therefore while a man is learning to distinguish and choose between the false and the true, he is correcting and perfecting his mind, and is thereby rendering it more harmonious and felicitous, more efficient and powerful. As he acquires the ―inner eye‖ to clearly distinguish the right in all the details of life, and the faith and knowledge to do it, he will realise that he is building the house of his character and life upon a rock which the winds of failure and the storms of persecution can never undermine. 4. True speech Truth is known by practice only. Without sincerity there can be no knowledge of Truth; and true speech is the beginning of all sincerity. Truth in all its native beauty and original simplicity consists in abandoning and not doing all those things which are untrue, and in embracing and doing all those things which are true. True speech is therefore one of the elementary beginnings in the life of Truth. Falsehood, and all forms of deception; slander and all forms of evil-speaking - these must be totally abandoned and abolished before the mind can receive even a small degree of spiritual enlightenment. The liar and slanderer is lost in darkness; so deep is his darkness that he cannot distinguish between good and evil, and he persuades himself that his lying and evil-speaking are necessary and good, that he is thereby protecting himself and other people. Let the would-be student of ―higher things‖ look to himself and beware of self-delusion. If he is given to uttering words that deceive, or to speaking evil of others – if he speaks in insincerity, envy, or malice - then he has not yet begun to study higher things. He may be studying metaphysics, or miracles, or psychic phenomena, or astral wonders – he may be studying how to commune with invisible beings, to travel invisibly during sleep, or to produce curious phenomena - he may even study spirituality theoretically and as a mere book study, but if he is a deceiver and a backbiter, the higher life is hidden from him. For the higher things are these – uprightness, sincerity, innocence, purity, kindness,
  • 99. gentleness, faithfulness, humility, patience, pity, sympathy, self-sacrifice, joy, goodwill, love – and he who would study them, know them, and make them his own, must practice them, there is no other way. Lying and evil-speaking belong to the lowest forms of spiritual ignorance, and there can be no such thing as spiritual enlightenment while they are practised. Their parents are selfishness and hatred. Slander is akin to lying, but it is even more subtle, as it is frequently associated with indignation, and by assuming more successfully the appearance of truth, it ensnares many who would not tell a deliberate falsehood. For there are two sides to slander - there is the making of repeating of it, and there is the listening to it and acting upon it. The slanderer would be powerless without a listener. Evil words require an ear that is receptive to evil in which they may fall, before they can flourish; therefore he who listens to a slanderer, who believes it, and allows himself to be influenced against the person whose character and reputation are defamed, is in the same position as the one who framed or repeated the evil report. The evil-speaker is a positive slanderer; the evil-listener is a passive slanderer. The two are co- operators in the propagation of evil. Slander is a common vice and a dark and deadly one. An evil report begins in ignorance, and pursues its blind way in darkness. It generally takes its rise in a misunderstanding. Some one feels that he or she has been badly treated, and, filled with indignation and resentment, unburdens himself to his friends and others in vehement language, exaggerating the enormity of the supposed offence on account of the feeling of injury by which he is possessed; he is listened to and sympathised with; the listeners, without hearing the other person’s version of what has taken place, and on no other proof than the violent words of an angry man or woman, become cold in their attitude towards the one spoken against, and repeat to others what they have been told, and as such repetition is always more or less inaccurate, a distorted and altogether untrue report is soon passing from mouth to mouth. It is because slander is such a common vice that it can work the suffering and injury that it does. It is because so many (not deliberate wrong-doers, and unconscious of the nature of the evil into which they so easily fall) are ready to allow themselves to be influenced against one whom they have hitherto regarded as honourable, that an evil report can do its deadly work. Yet its work is only amongst those who have not altogether acquired the virtue of true speech, the cause of which is a truth-loving mind. When one who has not entirely freed himself from repeating or believing an evil report about another, hears of an evil report about himself, his mind becomes aflame with burning resentment, his sleep is broken and his peace of mind is destroyed. He thinks the cause of all his suffering is in the other man and what that man has said about him, and is ignorant of the truth that the root and cause of his suffering lies in his own readiness to believe an evil report about another. The virtuous man - he who has attained to true speech, and whose mind is sealed against even the appearance of evil-speaking - cannot be injured and disturbed about any evil reports concerning himself; and although his reputation may for a time be stained in the minds of those who are prone to suggestions of evil, his integrity remains untouched and his character unsoiled; for no one can be stained by the evil deeds of another, but only by his own wrongdoing. And so, through all misrepresentation, misunderstanding, and contumely, he is untroubled and unrevengeful; his sleep is undisturbed, and his mind remains in peace. True speech is the beginning of a pure, wise and well-ordered life. If one would attain to purity of life, if he would lessen the evil and suffering of the world, let him abandon falsehood and slander in thought and word, let him avoid even the appearance of these things, for there are no lies and slanders so deadly as those which are half-truths, and let him not be a participant in evil-speaking by listening to it. Let him also have compassion on the evil-speaker, knowing how such a one is binding himself to suffering and unrest; for no liar can know the bliss of Truth; no slanderer can enter the kingdom of peace. By the words which he utters is a man‘s spiritual condition declared; by these also is he finally and infallibly adjudged, for as the Divine Master of the Christian world has declared, ―By thy words shalt
  • 100. thou be justified, and by thy words shalt thou be condemned. 5. Equal-mindedness To be equally-minded is to be peacefully-minded, for a man cannot be said to have arrived at peace who allows his mind to be disturbed and thrown off the balance by occurrences. The man of wisdom is dispassionate, and meets all things with the calmness of a mind in repose and free from prejudice. He is not a partisan, having put away passion, and he is always at peace with himself and the world, not taking sides nor defending himself, but sympathising with all. The partisan is so convinced that his own opinion and his own side is right, and all that goes contrary to them is wrong, that he cannot think there is any good in the other opinion and the other side. He lives in a continual fever of attack and defence, and has no knowledge of the quiet peace of an equal mind. The equal-minded man watches himself in order to check and overcome even the appearance of passion and prejudice in his mind, and by so doing he develops sympathy for others, and comes to understand their position and particular state of mind; and as he comes to understand others, he perceives the folly of condemning them and opposing himself to them. Thus there grows up in his heart a divine charity which cannot be limited, but which is extended to all things that live and strive and suffer. When a man is under the sway of passion and prejudice he is spiritually blind. Seeing nothing but good in his own side, and nothing but evil in the other, he cannot see anything as it really is, not even his own side; and not understanding himself, he cannot understand the hearts of others, and thinks it is right that he should condemn them. Thus there grows up in his heart a dark hatred for those who refuse to see with him and who condemn him in return, he becomes separated from his fellow-men, and confines himself to a narrow torture chamber of his own making. Sweet and peaceful are the days of the equal-minded man, fruitful in good, and rich in manifold blessings. Guided by wisdom, he avoids those pathways which lead down to hatred and sorrow and pain, and takes those which lead up to love and peace and bliss. The occurrences of life do not trouble him, nor does he grieve over those things which are regarded by mankind as grievous, but which must befall all men in the ordinary course of nature. He is neither elated by success nor cast down by failure. He sees the events of his life arrayed in their proper proportions, and can find no room for selfish wishes or vain regrets, for vain anticipations and childish disappointments. And how is this equal-mindedness - this blessed state of mind and life - acquired? Only by overcoming one‘s self, only by purifying one‘s own heart, for the purification of the heart leads to unbiased comprehension, unbiased comprehension leads to equal-mindedness, and equal-mindedness leads to peace. The impure man is swept helplessly away on the waves of passion; the pure man guides himself into the harbour of rest. The fool says, ―I have an opinion;‖ the wise man goes about his business. 6. Good results A considerable portion of the happenings of life comes to us without any direct choosing on our part, and such happenings are generally regarded as having no relation to our will or character, but as appearing fortuitously; as occurring without a cause. Thus one is spoken of as being ―lucky,‖ and another ―unlucky,‖ the inference being that each has received something which he never earned, never caused. Deeper thought, and a clearer insight into life convinces us, however, that nothing happens without a cause, and that cause and effect are always related in perfect adjustment and harmony. This being so, every happening directly affecting us is intimately related to our own will and character, is, indeed, an effect justly related to a cause having its seat in our consciousness. In a word, involuntary
  • 101. happenings of life are the results of our own thoughts and deeds. This, I admit, is not apparent on the surface; but what fundamental law, even in the physical universe, is so apparent? If thought, investigation, and experiment are necessary to the discovery of the principles which relate one material atom to another, even so are they imperative to the perception and understanding of the mode of action which relate one mental condition to another; and such modes, such laws, are known by the right-doer, by him who has acquired an understanding mind by the practice of true actions. We reap as we sow. Those things which come to us, though not by our own choosing, are by our causing. The drunkard did not choose the delirium tremens or insanity which overtook him, but he caused it by his own deeds. In this case the law is plain to all minds, but where it is not so plain, it is nonetheless true. Within ourselves is the deep-seated cause of all our sufferings, the spring of all our joys. Alter the inner world of thoughts, and the other world of events will cease to bring you sorrow; make the heart pure, and to you all things will be pure, all occurrences happy and in true order. ―Within yourselves deliverance must be sought, Each man his prison makes. Each hath such lordship as the loftiest ones; Nay, for with Powers above, around, below, As with all flesh and whatsoever lives, Act maketh joy or woe.‖ Our life is good or bad, enslaved or free, according to its causation in our thoughts, for out of these thoughts spring all our deeds, and from these deeds come equitable results. We cannot seize good results violently, like a thief, and claim and enjoy them, but we can bring them to pass by setting in motion the causes within ourselves. Men strive for money, sigh for happiness, and would gladly possess wisdom, yet fail to secure these things, while they see others to whom these blessings appear to come unbidden. The reason is that they have generated causes which prevent the fulfilment of their wishes and efforts. Each life is a perfectly woven network of causes and effects, of efforts (or lack of efforts) and results, and good results can only be reached by initiating good efforts, good causes. The doer of true actions, who pursues sound methods, grounded on right principles will not need to strive and struggle for good results; they will be there as the effects of his righteous rule of life. He will reap the fruit of his own actions and the reaping will be in gladness and peace. This truth of sowing and reaping in the moral sphere is a simple one, yet men are slow to understand and accept it. We have been told by a Wise One that ―the children of darkness are wiser in their day than the children of light‖, and who would expect, in the material world, to reap and eat where he had not sown and planted? Or who would expect to reap wheat in the field where he had sown tares, and would fall to weeping and complaining if he did not? Yet this is just what men do in the spiritual field of mind and deed. They do evil, and expect to get from it good, and when the bitter harvesting comes in all its ripened fullness, they fall into despair, and bemoan the hardness and injustice of their lot, usually attributing it to the evil deeds of others, refusing even to admit the possibility of its cause being hidden in themselves, in their own thoughts and deeds. The children of light - those who are searching for the fundamental principles of right living, with a view to making themselves into wise and happy beings – must train themselves to observe this law of cause and effect in thought, word and deed, as implicitly and obediently as the gardener obeys the law of sowing and reaping. He does not even question the law; he recognises and obeys it. When the wisdom which he instinctively practices in his garden, is practiced by men in the garden of their minds – when the law of the sowing of deeds is so fully recognised that it can no longer be doubted or questioned – then it will be just as faithfully followed by
  • 102. the sowing of those actions which will bring about a reaping of happiness and well-being for all. As the children of matter obey the laws of matter, so let the children of spirit obey the laws of spirit, for the law of matter and the law of spirit are one; they are but two aspects of one thing; the out-working of one principle in opposite directions. If we observe right principles, or causes, wrong effects cannot possibly accrue. If we pursue sound methods, no shoddy thread can find its way into the web of our life, no rotten brick enter into the building of our character to render it insecure; and if we do true actions, what but good results can come to pass; for to say that good causes can produce bad effects is to say that nettles can be reaped from a sowing of corn. He who orders his life along the moral lines thus briefly enunciated, will attain to such a state of insight and equilibrium as to render him permanently happy and perennially glad; all his efforts will be seasonally planted; all the issues of his life will be good, and though he may not become a millionaire as indeed he will have no desire to become such – he will acquire the gift of peace, and true success will wait upon him as its commanding master. Men and systems. By James Allen Contents 1. Introduction 2. Men and systems; Their correlations and combined results 3. Work, wages, and well-being 4. The survival of the fittest as a divine law 5. Justice in evil 6. Justice and love 7. Self-protection: animal, human, and divine 8. Aviation and the new consciousness 9. The new courage Introduction THE unceasing change, the insecurity, and the misery of life make it necessary to find some basis of certainty on which to rest if happiness and peace of mind are to be maintained. All science, philosophy, and religion are some many efforts in search of this permanent basis; all interpretations on the universe, whether from the material or spiritual side, are so many attempts to formulate some unifying principle or principles by which to reconcile the fluctuations and contradictions of life. it has been said that mathematics is the only exact science; that is, the only science that eternally works out true without a single exception. Yet mathematics is but the body of which ethics is the spirit. There is not a mathematical problem but has its ethical counterpart, and the spirit of ethics is as eternally exact as the form of mathematics. It is being discovered that all natural sciences are fundamentally mathematical. Even music popularly considered to be as far removed from mathematics as possible-is now known to be strictly mathematical. The science of harmony revealed certain fixed tones which never vary in their relative proportions, and all of which can be numerically resolved. These tones, like the numbers which represent them, are eternally fixed; and though their combinations- also like the combinations of
  • 103. numbers- are infinite, a given combination will always produce the same result. This mathematical foundation in all things is the keystone in the temple of science; and this mathematical certainty constitutes the "rock of ages," and the "great peace," on which and in which the saints and sages have ever found rest from the stress and turmoil of life. Human life and evolution at present is the learning of those preliminary lessons which are leading the race towards the mastery and understanding of this basic or divine knowledge; for without such a permanent, exact mathematical basis no lesson could be learnt. When human beings are spoken of as learning the lessons of God or of life, two things are inferred, namely; (1) A state of ignorance on the part of the learner, and (2) that there is some definite knowledge which he has to acquire. This is seen plainly in a child at school. Its lessons imply that there is a permanent principle of knowledge towards which it is progressing. Without such knowledge there could be no lessons. Thus, when one speaks of erring men as learning the lessons of life, he infers, whether he realizes it or not, the existence of a permanent basis of knowledge towards the possession of which all men are moving. This basic principle, a knowledge of which the whole race will ultimately acquire, is best represented by the term Divine Justice. Human justice differs with every man according to this own light or darkness, but there can be no variation in that Divine Justice by which the universe is eternally sustained. Divine Justice is spiritual mathematics. As with figures and objects, whether simple or complex, there is a right and unvarying result, and no amount of ignorance or deliberate falsification can ever make it otherwise, so with every combination of thoughts or deeds, whether good or bad, there is an unvarying and inevitable consequence which nothing can avert. If this were not so, if we could have effect without cause, or consequence unrelated to act, experience could never lead to knowledge, there would be no foundation of security, and no lessons could be learnt. Thus every effect has a cause, and cause and effect are in such intimate relationship as to leave no room for injustice to creep in. Nevertheless, there is ignorance, and, through ignorance, the doing of life‘s lessons wrongly; and this doing of life‘s sums wrongly is that error, or sin, which is the source of man‘s sufferings. How often the child at school weeps because it cannot do its sums correctly! And older children in the school of life do the same thing when the sum of their actions has worked out in the form of suffering instead of happiness. The ground of certainty, then, on which we can securely rest amid all the incidents of life is the mathematical exactitude of the moral law. The moral order of the universe is not, cannot, be disproportionate, for if it were the universe would fall to pieces. If a brick house cannot stand unless it be built in accordance with certain geometrical proportions, how could a vast universe, with all its infinite complexities of form and motion, proceed in unbroken majesty from age to age unless guided by unerring and infallible justice? All the physical laws with which men are acquainted never vary in their operations. Given the same cause, there will always be the same effect. All the spiritual laws with which men are acquainted have, and must have, the same infallibility in their operations. Given the same thought or deed in a life circumstance, and the result will always be the same. Without this fundamental ethical justice there could be no human society, for its is the just reactions of the deeds of individuals which prevents society from tottering to its fall. It thus follows that the inequalities of life, as regards the distribution of happiness and suffering, are the outworking of moral forces operating along lines of flawless accuracy, this perfect law, is the one great fundamental certainty in life, the finding of which ensures a man‘s perfection, makes him wise and
  • 104. enlightened, and fills him with rejoicing and peace. Take away a belief in this certainty from a man‘s consciousness, and he is adrift on a self created ocean of chance, without rudder, chart, or compass. He has no ground on which to build a character or life, no incentive for noble deeds, no center for moral action; he has no island of peace and no harbor of refuge. Even the crudest idea of God as of a great man whose mind is perfect, who cannot err, and who has "no, variables nor shadow of turning," is a popular expression of a belief in this basic principle of Divine Justice. According to this principle there is neither favor nor change, but unerring and unchangeable right. Thus all the sufferings of men are right as effects, their causes being the mistakes of ignorance; but as effects they will pass away. Man cannot suffer for something which he has never done, or never left undone for this would be an effect without a cause. Man suffers through and himself. Where the effect is there is the cause. Its seat is within, not without. The things which men are reaping to-day are of the same kind which they formerly sowed. The good man of to-day may be reaping the results of past evil; the bad man of to-day may be reaping the results of past good. Seen thus, this divine principle throws an illuminating light on those cases (common enough) where the good suffer and fail, and the bad enjoy and prosper. Things as they are did not spring into existence without a cause. They have behind them a long train of causes and effects, and another such train will follow them in the future. In viewing the objects in a landscape we allow for perspective; we must do the same in viewing events. This principle of Divine Justice is not distinct from Divine Law. It is the same. Partial men separate justice from love, and even regard them as antagonistic, but in the divine life they blend into one. Nothing can transcend right. Nothing can be more loving than that we should experience the sequences of ignorance and error, and so become "perfected through suffering." In this Divine Love, which never alters, never errs, never passes over a single deed, we have a sure rock of salvation, for that which could shift and change could afford no foothold. Only in the unchangeable, the eternally true, is there permanent peace and safety. Resorting to this divine principle, abandoning all evil, and cling to good, we come to a knowledge and realization of that basis of certainty on which we can firmly stand through all life‘s changes; we have found the rock of ages and the refuge of the saints. JAMES ALLEN "BRYNGOLEU," ILFRACOMBE. 1. Men and systems Their correlations and combined results THERE is to-day a widespread revolt against those modes of human activity designated "Systems," and these systems are almost invariably referred to as something distinct from, and yet directing, controlling, or tyrannizing over, humanity itself. Thus the leaders in the revolt referred to speak of the "commercial system", the "social system", the "competitive system," the "political system," and so on; and the particular system condemned is made responsible for-made the cause of -certain widespread evils, such as poverty, vice, &c., as though "systems" were some sort of discarnate and gigantic despots, enslaving and crushing an innocent and unwilling humanity. Such an arbitrary and external form of system has no existence; it is a delusion. Human systems cannot be separated from human desires and needs; they are, indeed, the visible outworking of those desires and needs. A system is none other than the combined and concerted mode of action of the community; it signifies a tacit agreement on the part of all, or nearly all, that things should be so and so; it is a
  • 105. method in which human kind agree to act. And as men act, so systems appear; as they cease to act, so they disappear. And let it be understood that such agreement to act has no reference to, or bearing upon, a man‘s attitude towards a system-whether for or against- but depends upon his actions. A man may violently condemn a system with his lips, yet show that he is in agreement with it in his heart by the fact that he continues to act in accordance with it, to follow it out in his daily life. We are all aware of that form of religious hypocrisy (nearly always unconscious) that continues to commit the sin which it violently denounces; thus showing, in practice, a fundamental agreement with that which, superficially and ion theory, is opposed. And this form of unconscious inconsistency is not confined to religion; it is a pronounced factor in all moral activities, and is nowhere more strongly in evidence than in those directions where the reform of "existing systems" is, theoretically at any rate, the primary aim. Thus, when i have asked some socialists, who condemn the present capitalist system as a system of getting rich on the labor of the poor, why they themselves life on dividends- that is, on the fruits of other men‘s labor, thus propagating every day that which they denounce as an evil-the reply almost invariably has been, "You should blame the system, not me." This reply shows that such people regard themselves as the helpless victims of a tyrannical something which exists external to, and independent of , themselves and their actions, and which they call a "system." But a little reflection will show that which they denounce as the "system" is none other than the viewing as evil certain actions in others which they regard as good in themselves. Human systems are human modes of action which are dependent for their continuance on a fundamental tacit agreement among men to continue to act in the same way; and such agreement implies that those who continue to enact any particular system must be prepared to meet and to accept its disadvantages as well as its advantages; for in the struggle for advantage there must always be the corresponding disadvantage; in the battle of human interests there must always be both victory and defeat. Viewed in this light, the term "innocent victims of the system," so much in vogue, is seen to be shallow and delusive. There are no innocent victims of a system in which all engage either in the letter or the spirit; if guilt there be, then all are guilty, and the innocence is superficial and apparent, not fundamental and real. In reality, however, there is neither innocence nor guild attached to a human system which has evolved through long processes of struggle and time. There is merely the victory and happiness on the one hand, and the defeat and misery on the other; and the defeated are not the innocent, nor the victorious the guilty, for both these conditions in social life are the just effects of men‘s actions, as victory and defeat attach to a battle or a race. To make this more plain, let us take a simple illustration. Here are ten men who mutually agree to engage, among themselves, in certain forms of gambling. Now, the object of each of these men is to win, and so increase his wealth, yet they all know that there is also the possibility of losing; know, indeed, that some must lose, for such is the unavoidable hazard of the game. Immediately these men commence to act, by laying down their stakes, they have created a system which might be called "the gambling system," and the advantages and disadvantages of such a system soon become apparent. There is ceaseless fluctuation of their combined wealth-some winning and becoming rich, and then again losing and becoming poor; but ultimately some lose all they possess and have to retire defeated, while others acquire the losers‘ part and become rich on their gains. Now, it cannot be said of the winners that they are guilty of exploiting and crushing down the losers; nor can it be said of the losers that they are the innocent victims of the system of gambling in which they are engaged. In the mental attitude and actions of these ten men there is neither innocence nor guilt, but a mutual engagement in a method, with its inevitable results, namely, the reaping of its advantages on the one hand, the suffering from its disadvantages on the other.
  • 106. In like manner, of the various systems in which men have involved themselves, there are no innocent victims, no guilty tyrants. Victims there are, if men choose to apply that term to the defeated, or to those who, for the time being, are suffering loss; but they are the victims of their own deeds, and not of an overruling and compelling injustice outside themselves. Of the ten men who engage in gambling, none are victimized, none can possibly be victimized, but themselves. Those outside the system- that is, those who do not encourage and propagate it by their acts- remain untouched, uninjured by it. So if our present commercial system should be a "system of greed," as many social reformers style it, then not by any possibility whatever could any but the greedy be injured by it. Doubtless there is much greed in the world, for in its present stage of evolution humanity is learning its lessons largely along selfish paths; but greed can never have any existence in external "system," it can only exist in human hearts; nor can greed injure any but the greedy. Commercialism is free from greed in the hands of those who have destroyed greed in themselves. But they who are greedily will taint everything-even religion-with their own impure condition. Industrialism, the outworking of a nation‘s energies and abilities, is wholesome and noble; it is covetousness which produces woe, and the sole sufferers from covetousness are the covetous themselves. I will here anticipate the common query, "What of the innocent victims of the rapacious company promoter?" by replying (and this reply will be found adaptable to all human conditions and systems) they are not innocent, but have the same attitude of mind as the unscrupulous company promoter, namely, the desire to obtain money, and as much of its as possible, without laboring for it. The company promoter is the instrument through whom they reap the results of their own greed, and fall victims to their own covetousness. Social reformers may denounce the system of "capitalism" or "commercialism", but so long as they themselves continue to enact that side of commercialism which is most akin to covetousness, namely, its speculative as distinguished from its industrial side, by keeping a keen eye to "good investments," and following up increased "dividends" with avidity, just so ling will that which they call "a system of greed" (and indeed to them it is such) continue. Those who are striving to life by speculation, on the fruits of another‘s labors or who have the spirit to do should the opportunity arise (and the number of those who are anxious to acquire money without giving its equivalent is very large), should not bemoan the existence of want and poverty, but should perceive and receive such conditions as the inevitable disadvantages of the method which they are acting out, as luxury and riches are its advantages. The hope of one day becoming suddenly rich without working for it, and living ever after a life of unbroken ease, is a common chimera among the poor. While covetousness continues to sway the human mind, want and poverty will continue. Men desire, and then they act, and they combined acts constitute what men call "systems". The ten gamblers desired to increase their wealth without laboring for it, and at each other‘s loss, and they acted accordingly. Their combined actions constituted the system with its combination of results. Systems are, therefore, deeds- combined and reciprocal of a number of individuals; and the so-called evils in the world which men attribute to systems as distinguished from men are the reactions upon individuals of their own deeds. A system cannot be "unjust," because men inevitably reap the just effects of their own deeds. The evils which prevail in the world are indications of justice, not injustice. Poverty and want are the natural disadvantages of the present social life, or system- that is, of the way in which men agree to act. There is suffering, but there is not injustice. It could not be said of those among the ten gamblers who were
  • 107. reduced to poverty that they were treated unjustly by the winners, or that they were the innocent victims of the system of gambling. Their lot was just; their poverty being the, inevitable result of their own actions. Recently a socialist friend of mine was somewhat violently condemning landlords and landlords, and i pulled him up by saying," But why do you condemn landlords, seeing that you are one yourself? Have you not, only a few weeks ago, added another piece of land to that which you already possessed?" He replied, "It‘s the system, not me. So long as the present system lasts I shall have to work with it; but when it is altered, i shall be willing to give up my land." If a gambler of were continually condemning the "system" of gambling as a bad one, and yet continued to gamble, we should justly say that he was confused both in his morals and perceptions; and he is equally confused who, while condemning any other system, social, political, or whatsoever, yet continues to act it out. Such a man does not, in his heart, regard the system as bad, but as good and just; this is evidenced by the fact that he continues to propagate it by his actions. Systems are to men as light to the sun, rain to the clouds, or thoughts to the mind. They are both men and the deeds of men. To regard them as separate from men is confusion of thought and principle. Nor can there possibly be any injustice in their outworking, for the reaction of ignorant deeds is certain; the recompense of enlightened deeds is sure. I see no evil in systems; i see evil in ignorance and wrong-doing. All systems are legitimate, for men have liberty to act in their own way. The ten gamblers who mutually agree to enrich and impoverish each other have nobody to blame but themselves; and if the winners are satisfied with their gains, the losers should be equally satisfied with their losses; if they are not, then they should look to themselves and remedy their deeds. Their poverty is good discipline, in that it is driving them to seek a better way of action. If a man regards a system as bad, he should withdraw from it in practice, and should bend his actions in another direction; for immediately two men act in concert a system is formed, and the good and the bad which lurk in their actions will soon be manifested in the system which they have launched forth. In the life of humanity, in systems, in what are called good and bad, are visible the outworking of the combined results of men‘s deeds; and in all, through all, and over all, justice reigns eternally triumphant. 2. Work, wages, and well-being ACTIVITY is a necessity of existence, and usefulness is the object of being. Nature at once cuts off that which has become useless. Her economy is faultless, and she will not be burdened with things which have ceased to be of service in her progressive workshop. Nor does she allow her handy tools to lie unused, nor her bright things to rust. Where so ever there is ability, there also are scope and opportunity; where there is energy, there also are legitimate channels for its exercise; where there is a soaring mind, the means of achievement are ready to hand. As the field waits for the plough, the sea for the ship-, and the port for produce, so Nature in all her departments, whether material or mental, stands ready to co-operate with man in all his labors, and to reward him according to his diligence and industry. The statement, "There is no scope for my abilities," is either an expression of vanity, an excuse for negligence, or a confession of lack of resource, or of inability to utilize opportunity. Ability need never lie unused for a moment. There is unlimited scope for all abilities. All that is required is the capacity for work. Of all abilities, the capacity for work is the most useful and necessary, and its possession is a glorious power; and this men discover when they are disabled, or stricken down with sickness. When they are
  • 108. thus forcibly prevented from engaging in wholesome, invigorating labor, what would they not give to have once again the spirited and glowing use of brain or muscle, or to spend exuberant strength in healthful exertion? Work is of two kinds- it is either loving labor or enforced slavery. The man whose sole object is to get through his work in order to draw his pay, who has no love for, and no interest in his work, beyond what it represents in cash, is a slave and not a true worker. He labors only under the compulsion of necessity. His entire interest is in getting instead of in doing. He gives his labor irk somely and perfunctorily, but receives his pay with eagerness, striving, when he things he safely can, to give less and less labor, and get more and more wages. "Less work and more pay," is the cry of slaves, and not of men. On the contrary, the man whose heart is centered in his work, who aims at the perfect performance of his duty, is a true worker whose usefulness and influence are cumulative and progressive, carrying him on from success to greater and greater success, from low spheres of labor to higher and higher still. Thinking little or nothing of the wages, and much of reward, but eager and willing in service, he is sealed by Nature as one of her chosen sons, fitted by virtue of his unselfish labors to receive the greater excellence and fuller reward. For while full recompense may, and frequently does, escape the man who covetously seeks it, it cannot be withheld from him who ignores it in his work. For the true recompense is never withheld, but in the selfish desire to secure the recompense without giving its equivalent, disappointment is the pay received, and the expected reward does not appear. The wages of work are sure. In the universal economy no man is cheated; he cannot be defrauded of his just earnings, for every effort receives its proportionate result; first work as the cause, and then wages as the effect. But while wages is the result, it is not the end; it is only a means to a still greater and more far-reaching result and end, namely, the progress and increased happiness both of the individual and the race-in word, to wellbeing. The receiving of so much money for work done does not represent wages in its entirety; it is, indeed, only a small portion of the actual wages of true work; while the man who considers that the end of work is reached when he has received the money due receives all he bargains for, he does not derive complete satisfaction from his labors, nor comprehend or enter the higher spheres of knowledge and usefulness which are reserved for the devotes of unselfish duty. It is a day of definitely marked progress in the life of a man when, by the illumination of spirit which proceeds from the development of higher sense of duty, he passes from the burdensome sphere of slavery to the happy world of work; when he leaves behind him the grasping and bartering, the drudgery and humiliation, and, accepting his place among his fellows, becomes a cheerful co-operator with humanity, and a willing and happy instrument in the economy of things. Such a man receives the completion of wages in its sevenfold fullness as follows: 1. Money 2. Usefulness. 3. Excellence. 4. Power 5. Independence 6. Honor 7. Happiness
  • 109. First, he receives the full amount of money of which his work is the equivalent; but in addition to this, his usefulness to the world is increased, and continues to increase in an ever ascending degree; and this greater usefulness is one of the pure delights of labor, for one of the chief rewards of use is to be of greater use. To the slave, idleness is coveted as the reward of labor; but the worker rejoices in more work still. This accumulating usefulness leads to the wages of excellence-skill, a growing perfection in the work undertaken; and every child that has learned its lesson, and every man and woman that has mastered a problem or a language, or surmounted a great difficulty, is acquainted with the happiness which is the sure accompaniment of such success, although not until later do they realize the full significance of all that is involved in such success in relation to their career. For a point of excellence is at last reached which merges into power-knowledge, mastery. The man who is devoted to his work becomes at last a master in that work, whatever it may be. He becomes a teacher, a guide, and instructor to others who are treading the lower levels of the path up which he has climbed. He is sought out by others for the knowledge which he has acquired through practice and experience. He is relied upon, and takes his proper place amongst those who lead and serve mankind. Power is a form of wages received as the result of long and arduous labor. It is received only by him who has built it up, so to speak, unselfish toil leads to the reaping of power. Associated with power is independence. The true worker takes his place among his fellows as a useful citizen. The fearless flash of honesty is in his eyes, the ring of worth is in his voice, and the steadfastness of self-reliance is in his gait. He is not a drone in the human hive, but stands out in shining contrast to the skulking shirker who imagines that the highest good in life is to get something without working for it. The slave who goes to his hated work only because he is whipped to it by necessity comes down to beggary and shame, and is despised and neglected; but the true worker ascends into independence and honor, and is admired and sought. Honor- This is one of the higher forms of wages, and it comes unerringly and unsought to all who are energetic and faithful in the work of their life. It may be, and often is, late in coming, but come it must and does, and always at its own proper time; for while money is the first and smallest item in wages, honor is one of the last and greatest; and the greater the honor, the longer and harder is the course of labor by which it is earned. There are degrees of honor according to the measure of usefulness, and the greatest men receive the greatest honor. They who receive the fullness of wages, receive the fullness of happiness, for true work as surely brings about happiness as idleness and enforced labor are paid in the coin of unhappiness. From the perfection of happiness proceeds well-being -a quiet conscience, a satisfied heart, a tranquil mind, and the consciousness of having increased the happiness and aided in the progress of mankind through the full and faithful exercise of one‘s abilities. First work, and then wages; but well-being only follows when the work is of the true kind, when it is loved for its own sake, and when the money received for such work is utilized for further work and better achievement instead of being squandered in folly and self-indulgence. Even he who only works for the pay in coin will derive just the measure of well-being which that pay can purchase if he spends it carefully, and will thus aid, in a small measure, industrial progress; but he can also, by a foolish use of his wages, make it an instrument of ill-being, and reduce himself to a dead and useless limb on the tree of life. It is demanded by the law of things that every man shall receive the equivalent of what he gives. If he gives idleness, he receives inactivity- death; if gives stinted and unwilling service, he receives stinted and hardly secured pay; if he gives loving and generous labor, he recipes generous recompense in a life replete with blessedness.
  • 110. It may here be asked, "But what about the toiling masses? What you say may be, and doubtless is, true of certain favored individuals, but how can it apply to the vast army of millworks and factory hands, whose toil is long and hard and almost purely mechanical?" It applies with equal force to them. There are no favored individuals; and there was a time when those who now occupy the high places stood in the low. There is no reason why the mill-worker should not be unselfish in his labor and faithful and conscientious in duty; and there is every reason why he should economize his entire financial, physical, and mental resources, using his money for the improvement of his home and surroundings, and his evenings and spare time in the culture of his intellectual and moral powers. He will thus be preparing himself for higher spheres of usefulness and power, which will not be withheld from him when he is sufficiently equipped and strengthened to deal with intricate matters and carry weighty responsibilities; while the process of preparation itself will be one of ever-increasing knowledge, strength, and happiness. Work, wages, and well-being are three broad stages in individual and racial evolution; and the political economy of the future will take into account those higher mental and spiritual forms of wages which it now ignores, but which are still the most powerful factors in the well-being of men and nations. Well indeed will it be for that nation which is the first to realize and wisely utilize the fact that its prosperity and happiness are not limited to its material resources, but that in the mental and spiritual material of its inhabitants it possesses inexhaustible mines of living resources which, when worked with the tools of suitably evolved educational methods, will afford rich yields of prosperity and peace; that the surest and swiftest way to even material success as well as to all the higher and nobler successes is by the assiduous cultivation of character. 3. The survival of the fittest as a divine law NATURE and Spirit were at one time universally considered to be at enmity, and even to-day the majority of people regard them as opposed to each other; but a fuller knowledge of the Cosmos reveals the sublime fact that the natural and the spiritual are two aspects of One Eternal Truth. Nature is the Spirit made visible and tangible. The seen is the expressed form and letter of the unseen. We search in trackless deserts of speculation to find the Real, while all the time it stands before us. The return from those weary and fruitless wanderings to Truth is a coming back to the simple and obvious; but whereas we went out with sealed eyes, we come back with them unsealed; we look upon Nature with a vision clarified from ignorance and egotism, and lo! the unclean has become clean, the mortal has become immortal, the natural is seen to be also the spiritual. Thus, when the physical scientist reveals a natural law, he, at the same time, makes known to the understanding mind- whether he himself knows it or not- a spiritual law. The whole universe is spiritual, and every physical law is the letter of a moral principle. When the moral nature of the Cosmos is apprehended, all controversies about matter and spirit- as things opposed are at an end, and the assiduous worker in physical realms- often spoken of contemptuously as a "materialist"- is seen to be a revealer, as well as the worker in spiritual realms, the two phases of the universe being, as we have pointed out, but two arcs of one perfect whole. When Charles Darwin made known the law of "the survival of the fittest," he revealed the working of Divine Justice in Nature. The almost universal prejudice and passionate opposition among religious people which the announcement of his discovery aroused was based, not on the fact itself, but upon a total misunderstanding of that law. That opposition has to-day nearly died out; but even yet one frequently hears this law referred to as a "cruel law", and the belief in it denounced as tending to destroy pity and love. Such people always think of this law as "the survival of the cruelest," or "the survival of the strongest,"
  • 111. and here is where the misunderstanding arises. The correct term, "The Survival of the Fittest," must not be lost sight of; for the fittest are never the cruelest, and rarely the strongest. The strongest and curliest creatures have long since passed away, and have given place to weaker, but more intelligent, creatures and beings. Think of the numberless insects, and of the many powerful enemies which beset them on every hand. Yet these wonderful and beautiful creatures continue to flourish, and they owe their continuance to their intelligence, which is greater, better and more fitted to survive than the strength and cruelty of their enemies. For what is the survival of the fittest but the survival of the best? In a world of continual progress it must needs be that the best of every period takes precedence of the worst-the good of the bad, the fit of the unfit. This, indeed, is the very meaning of progress. When we think of progress, we at once think of something, by its superiority- its greater fitness to the time and occasion-taking precedence f something which is inferior and has fallen out of the line of advancement; and this progress, this advancement, this survival of the fittest, resolves itself into a moral principle, into a Divine Law. Opponents of this teaching tacitly assume that the most selfish are the fittest to survive, and they thereupon condemn the teaching as callous, and accuse Darwin of making selfishness supreme. But the error is theirs, and not Darwin‘s or the law‘s. In their prejudice they wrest his meaning to a false issue, and attack that. Their error consists in assuming that the fittest to survive are the most selfish; whereas such are the worst specimens, and not the best. When we realize that the unselfish are more fitted to survive than the selfish, this law assumes an aspect the very opposite from that which its opponents have given it, and we at once see that in it are involved the profoundest moral principles, namely, the principles of Justice and Love. Remembering that it is the fittest that survive, what, then-in this universe of law and order-constitutes the fittest? It is evident that the fittest are the most advanced specimens of any given species. Not the strongest, not the cruelest, not the most selfish, not even the finest physically; but the most advanced, those most in line with the order of evolution The fittest at one period are not the fittest at another. There was a time when brute force was dominant; but that was when nothing higher had been evolved. Yet even in that long distant period-ten million years back, when gigantic monsters held sway upon the earthy-something higher was being evolved. Already intelligence, yea, and unselfish love, were beginning to make themselves felt, for those great beasts loved and protected their young; and so all who most unselfishly shield their offspring, be they beasts or men, will be most protected while, obviously, any species that neglected its offspring would rapidly perish. Thus, long, long ages ago, the fragile babe of intelligence was born in the manager of brute force, and since then, through all the ages of struggle, it has been gradually but surely overcoming the brutal strength and terror; so that to-day intelligence has conquered, or almost conquered, for the strongest brutes have passed away for ever, having given place to beings physically weaker and smaller, but better, and more morally perfect. Without the operation of such a law man could never have come into existence; for man is, up to the present, the crown and summit of a process of struggle, selection, and progress which began many millions of years ago when the first of life appeared upon the earth. Man is the product of the law of the survival of the fittest operating through millions of years, perhaps millions of ages; yet in brute strength he is far inferior to many animals. He rules the earth to-day because of the principle of intelligence within him. But there is being evolved in man a higher principle than intelligence, namely, Divine Love, which is as much higher and more powerful than intelligence as intelligence is higher and more powerful than brute force. I use the term "Divine Love" in order to distinguish it from human affection, and from that intermittent kindly impulse, which are both spoken of as Love. Intelligence may aid selfishness, but not so Love; in Love all selfishness is swallowed up and brute force is no more, both being transmuted into gentleness.
  • 112. The beginnings of the Divine Love are already in the world. We see its wonderful operation in the few men in who0m it has been perfected, namely, the Great Spiritual Teachers who, by their precepts and the example of their lives, rule the world to-day; and selfish men worship them as God. We see in these men the prophecy of what Love will do in the distant future, when a large number of men possess it in an advanced degree; how selfishness and selfish men will submit to it and be governed by it, as the brutes now submit to man‘s intelligence and are ruled by it. And this Love is making its appearance not only in the Great Teachers, but in men less evolved; and though in these it is, as yet, in a more or less rudimentary form, nevertheless the stirrings of its gentleness and joy are being felt in many human hearts. A common argument against the survival of the fittest is that were men to put it into practice they would kill off all their weakling and invalids, preserving only the strong, and thus destroying all pity and love and humanity. This argument is a demonstration of the error to which we have already referred. It is ludicrously self-contradictory, for, while it admits that the best elements are pity and love and humanity, it asserts that these would perish if the fittest, or best survived. And here we are at the heart of the whole matter. The best does survive, and, therefore, pity, compassion, and love cannot be overthrown by selfishness is for every annihilated. Speaking of human beings, it is plain that the fittest to survive are not the selfish and the cruel, but those who have developed the finest characteristics of kindness, compassion, justice, and love- in a word, the most moral, the purest, and wisest. To talk about putting this law "into practice" shows ignorance of its nature; for it is independent in its operation, and is always in activity, and all men and creatures obey it; and should ever a race of men, under them is taken notion that they were practicing it, do it such violence as to "kill off their weaklings and invalids," the law would not cease to operate in their case, and they, by virtue of that very law, would soon exterminate themselves. With the ceaseless march of human progress, cruelty is becoming less and less fitted to survive against the growing intelligence and gentleness. The cruel races have nearly all died out, only disorganized remnants of them remaining. The fierce animals of prey are becoming fewer, and brutal men are now regarded as a menace to society. Gradually and inevitably, also, selfish and aggressive men will come to have less and less power in the world, will become more out of harmony with the growing environment of peace and goodwill, till at last they will pass away from the earth altogether, as the gigantic brutes have passed away, no longer fitted to survive in a world conquered by Love, in which righteousness and truth become triumphant. Thus this law, as represented by Darwin, is the aspect, in Nature, of the operation of Justice, or Love; for in the Light of Truth, Justice and Love are seen to be one. The spiritual aspect of the law was intimately known by all the Great Teachers, and men have overlooked the fact that these Teachers embodied it in their teaching. Thus the precept of Jesus, "The meek shall inherit the earth," is none other than a simple but Divine statement of the survival of the fittest. 4. Justice in evil TO-DAY we frequently meet with the assertion, "All is good." Pope, in his famous easy on man, said: "Whatever is, is right" and nearly all are familiar with Browing‘s oft-quoted line: "God‘s in His heaven, all‘s right with the world."
  • 113. In the face of these statements, the questions naturally arise: Are war and famine good? Are sickness and poverty good? Are sorrow and suffering good? These things belong to the category of the great facts of human life; are they good? Again, are sin and selfishness right? Are drunkenness and brutality right? Are crime and violence right? Are accidents by sea and land right? Are catastrophes involving hundreds of thousands of lives right? These things, like the former, are everyday facts. They are real, and cause widespread suffering; are they right? Many persons must have questioned thus during the past years of unprecedented catastrophes in the form of volcanic eruptions, earthy quakes, floods, famines, wars, and various forms of crimes and violence. Are these things right? If so, why are men so eager to escape them? Even those who are given to quoting, "Whatever is, is right," will, in the next breath, refer to certain "evils," and propose some method of being rid of them. It is plain that, in the sense of adding to human happiness, these things are not right, for they conduce to human misery. Even those who deny the existence of evil in theory recognize it in practice, in their efforts to conquer it. Nevertheless, those statements as to the Universal Good and the rightness of all things are true. It is all a matter of relativity. The recognition of evil, and the statement that all is good, are not contradictory. When the events of life are related to human happiness, then some are recognized as "good," and some as "evil"; but when they are related to the fundamental and eternal principle of Justice, then all things are seen to be good, right, in harmony with the Great Law of inviolable Equity. Take a simple example-that of physical pain. When we are considering human happiness, bodily pain is an evil; but when we consider the principle of Life itself, and its protection and continuance, then physical pain is seen to be good, as it is a warning. Monitor urging man to the protection of his body from hurt and extinction. And it is with mental pain as with physical-with sorrow, remorse, loneliness, and grief it is evil because it destroys happiness; but as the effect of ignorance and wrong-doing, it is just, and therefore good, as it urges men to seek the paths of wisdom and right doing. The prophet Isaiah says: "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." He thus recognizes the justice of evil, that it has its place in the moral universe as the opposite of good, just as darkness has its place in the physical universe as the opposite of light. The prophet Amos expresses the same thing when he says: "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hat not done it?" The writings of the Hebrew prophets in the Old Testament teem with statement of the truth that evil is rooted in justice, not in injustice; that all the afflictions and calamities which overtake men spring from some violation, on man‘s part, of the moral law. So pronounced are they upon this point that they even attribute the suffering caused by purely external occurrences - such as floods, storms, earthquakes, drought, and dearth of food-to man‘s inward unrighteousness and his consequent departure from the Divine Order. And, indeed, a profound acquaintance with the human heart and with human life does reveal the great truth-a truth never apparent on the surface, and therefore hidden from the shallow and unthinking-that
  • 114. all tragedy is the culminating point in the conflict of human passions. Where there are no violent passions there can be no tragedy, no disaster, no catastrophe. When humanity has attained to inward harmony and peace, it will be free from all those forms of violence which now devastate the world, and scourge humankind with grief and lamentation. Maeterlinck perceives this truth clearly, for in his Wisdom and Destiny he says: "Fatality shrinks back abashed from the soul that has more than once conquered her; there are certain disasters she dare not send forth when this soul is near. "The mere presence of the sage suffices to paralyze destiny; and of this we find proof in the fact that there exists scarce a drama wherein a true sage appears; when such is the case, the event must needs halt before reaching bloodshed and tears. Not only is there no drama wherein sage is in conflict with sage, but indeed there are very few whose action revolves round a sage. And truly; can we imagine that an event shall turn into tragedy between men who have earnestly striven to gain knowledge of self? It is rarely indeed that though it be for an instant. They are afraid of a lofty soul, for they know that events are no less afraid; and were there heroes to soar to the height the real hero would gain, their weapons would fall to the ground, and the drama itself become peace - the peace of enlightenment." It is a significant fact that while Shakespeare depicted nearly every type of character, he never brought a sage into his dramas. The truth is that his tragedies could not have taken place in the presence of a sage. Their outward violence stands related as effect to the hidden cause of disordered and conflicting passions. The sage has lifted himself above such disorder and conflict, and such is the power of his harmonious and tranquil spirit that in his presence the passions of others will be calmed and subdued, and their approaching tragic issue averted. It is a mighty truth, and one which stands clearly revealed in the mind of the sage and the prophet, that all the evils of humanity spring from the ignorance, and, therefore, from the mistakes, the wrong-doing, of humanity itself. It is, therefore, just and right. But though just and right, it is not desirable; it is evil, and needs to be transcended. It is just and right, as imprisonment is just and right for the thief, in that it teaches man, and ultimately brings him to the feet of wisdom. As physical pain is a protector of man‘s body, so mental pain is a protector of his mind and of his life. From man‘s ignorance of the Divine Law-of the Moral Order of the universe-arise those thoughts and passions-inward conditions-which are the source of tragedy, disaster, catastrophe. Envy, ill-will, jealousy, produce strife and quarrelling, and ultimately bring about wars in which thousands are killed and disabled, and hundreds of homes are filled with mourning. Greediness, self-indulgence, and the thirst for pleasure lead, through gluttony, indolence, and drunkenness, to disease, poverty, and plague. Covetousness, lust, and selfishness in all its forms cause men to practice deception, lying, and dishonesty, and to strive against others in the blind pursuance of their petty plans and pleasures, thus leading to deprivation, loss and ruin; and where there are excessively violent passions there is always a violent life ending in a premature and violent death. Man, by his ignorance, his selfishness, his darkness of mind, is the marker of sorrow and the cause of catastrophe. His sufferings are indications that the Divine Law has been arrested, and is now asserting itself. The tragic darkness of his life is the outcome of that same Justice from which his joyful light proceeds. If every suicide, every ruin, every woe, even every accident, could be traced to its original cause in the moral constitution of things, its justice would be found to be without blemish. And that which applies to individuals applies in the same way to nations. Widespread selfishness leads inevitably to widespread disaster; national corruption is followed by wholesale catastrophe, and by
  • 115. national disaster and ruin. And not alone poverty, disease, and famine, but even earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and all such external happenings, would be found, in their original cause, to be intimately related to men‘s moral life. That external accidents have a moral cause is plainly seen in the case of violent persons bringing about fatal accidents to themselves through folly and recklessness. Man‘s body, both by chemical and gravitational affinity, is a portion of the earth, as his mind, both spiritually and ethically, is a portion of the Moral Order of the universe. His life and being are interwoven with, and are inseparable from; the very nature and constitution of things; and, being a moral entity, and therefore a reasonable agent, it is within the domain of his power to discover and work with the Divine Law instead of striving against it. All man‘s pains, afflictions, disasters, calamities, are the shock resulting from running, either percipiently or blindly, giants the Moral Law, as a reckless rider or blind man is hurt when he runs up against a wall; and these sorrows are not the arbitrary visitations and punishments of an offended Deity, but are matters of cause and effect, just as the pain of burning is the effect of coming into too close contact with fire. In these days of social, political, and theological conflicts, and with wars, famines, floods, crimes, conflagrations, and volcanic and seismic catastrophes taking place on every hand, a return to the study of the Hebrew prophets burning, as they are, with the fire of Truth on national matters and local catastrophes-would prove not only scientifically enlightening, but would help considerably towards unveiling, in the mind of man, the revelation of the beauty and order of the Cosmos and the perfect justice of human life. The evils of life are right because of the cause which man has created; but man, having created causes which produce evil, can also create causes which produce good, and when in inward passions are tamed and subdued, the outward violence will disappear, or will be powerless to hurt mankind. Between the inward violence of surging passions and the outward violence of Nature there is such a close correspondence as to render them, in the inner order of things, of one indivisible essence. As the prophet Amos again puts it: "For they know not to do right, faith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their places. Therefore thus faith the Lord God: An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down they strength from thee, and thy places shall be spooled." The outward "adversary" is necessary to nullify the inward violence, is brought into existence by it. When a nation becomes corrupt, it is conquered and swallowed up. When cities become morally bankrupt, they fall to pieces, or are destroyed by some outward force. 5. Justice and love ONE frequently hears justice referred to as being opposed to love. Such an error arises out of lack of understanding of the profound and comprehensive significance of these two principles, for two divine laws cannot stand in opposition or contradiction to each other. Two basic laws, both admittedly good, must harmonize; otherwise one would be evil, for good cannot oppose good. The antagonism which men place between justice and love does not exist in reality; it is an error arising from ignorance of the true nature and right application of the principles involved. The element of kindness is never absent from justice; if it were, it would be weak emotionalism and not love. There is often more love in a server reproof than in a yielding acquiescence. The father who has little love for his child, though he may not treat it cruelly, will not take pains to train it properly; but the
  • 116. father who has great love for his child will train it with a firm yet gentle hand. He will be just to his child because he loves it. He will administer correction and reproof when necessary, that his child may profit thereby. Justice is not separate from love; love is not separate from justice. The essential oneness of the two principles is simply expressed in the divine edict: "Whatsoever a man swath, that shall he also reap." It is in accordance both with perfect love and perfect justice that man should reap the good results of his good deeds, and the bad results of his bad deeds. All men admit this theoretically, though the majority refuse to recognize the operation of such a law in the universe, arguing, when overtaken with trouble, that in their case they are not reaping what they have sown, as they have never done anything to call for such misfortune, but are suffering innocently (unjustly), or are afflicted through the wrong-doing of others. Such a law, however, obtains, and those who will search long enough, and look deep below the surface of things, will find it, and be able to trace with precision its faultless working. Nor would a right- minded man wish it to be otherwise. He would know that the kindest thing that could be done to him would be that he should suffer the full penalty of all his mistakes and wrong-doing, so that he might thereby grow more rapidly in virtue and wisdom. Petitions to Deity to abrogate the just punishment of sins committed are without avail, and can only spring from an immature moral sense. Woe indeed would descend upon man if the law of justice could thus be set aside. Self-afflicted and torn with sorrow as he now is, there is hope in the law which bestows no special favors and is unfailingly just. But if man by offering up a prayer could escape the effects of his bad deeds, then justice would be non-existent; and as for love, where would it be? For if one could thus be deprived of his bad earnings, what assurance could he have of not being robbed of his good earnings? Thus the ground of salvation would be cut away, and caprice and despotism would take the place of love and justice. As a coin, which is one, has two distinct sides, so love and justice are two aspects of the same thing. Men do not perceive the love that is hidden in justice, nor the justice that hidden love, because they perceive only one side, and do not to turn these principles round, as it were, and see them in their completion. Justice, being a divine principle, cannot contain any element of cruelty. All its apparent harshness is the chastening fire of love. Man himself, and not the law per se, has brought about all the afflictions which are working for his ultimate happiness and good. Love reigns supreme in the universe because justice is supreme. A tender and loving hand administers the rod of chastisement. Man is protected, even against himself. Love and justice are one. 6. Self-protection: animal, human, and divine MANY and wonderful are the means and methods of self-protection in this world of combat! Natural history has revealed the fact that even plants employ means of self-protection; and when we come to the animal world, the methods adopted to avoid annilitation in the struggle for life are so numerous and remarkable as to call forth our admiration and wonder. Nor in this fight for life is "the battle to the fierce and the race to the strong" in all cases. Indeed, the weak things of nature exhibit such ingenuity in the means which they adopt to escape their enemies, that they are equally successful in holding their own with the fiercest creatures that have few enemies to fear. The insects, weakest of all creatures, have developed this self-protective ingenuity to a remarkable degree, even to imitating in color and form the twinges upon which they rest, adopting the hue of the soil or the dead or living leaves among which they live; and in some cases, through long experience, they have so closely imitated in color and form certain flowers which they habitually haunt that their enemies the birds, keen as is their sight, pass
  • 117. them by; and even man, with all his intelligence, cannot distinguish them from the flowers unless he had had some experience as an observant naturalist. The smallest fishes adopt similar means of concealing themselves, although they are in the lowest class of animal life. When we come to the quadrupeds (although the weaker and smaller among them, those most hunted by the larger, adopt ruses similar to those which prevail among the insects and fishes), brute strength largely takes the place of stratagem. The beast has developed powerful weapons of defense, such as horns, fangs, claws &c., combined with an iron or lithe muscularity, with which he maintains his place on the earth, and defies extinction. Endurance, speed, strength, and ferocity are the means of self- protection among the brutes. Animal self-protection reaches its highest excellence in the superb strength and cunning of the lion and the tiger, yet it appears weak and clumsy when compared with the means of self-protection adopted by man; for self-preservation, although it is not all-powerful in the human as in the animal world is still a dominant impulse among human beings. Man is possessed of the entire animal nature and the animal impulses and instincts are strong within him; but there is along with this animal life an added intelligence and moral sense-a self-consciousness -- by virtue of which his self-protective scope and power are greatly enlarged and intensified. He is still an animal, with endurance, speed, strength, and ferocity; but he is also something more and greater-he is an intelligent, self-conscious being. Among men of low order of intelligence the animal methods still largely obtain. In the struggle of life the savage relies on brute strength. Even among civilized communities there are still thousands of admirers of "the noble art of self-defense," which can only be noble in the sense that we speak of the ferocity of the lion as being noble; and is devoid of art, being compounded entirely of brute force and cunning. Indeed, this practice is so closely allied to the beast that it has long ceased to be a means of self-defense among civilized men, and has become merely a vulgar pastime for the few. Working along physical lines, and still following the well-worn track of animal instinct, man has invented numerous implements of destruction by which to annihilate his enemy and preserve himself; and upon these, with increasing ingenuity and subtlety, he continues to improve. Working along the new path of pure intelligence-which is pre-eminently the human as distinguished from the animal sphere of activity-he discovers means of adding to his physical comforts and for the peaceful protection of his body, and asserts his right and power to live, not by brute force, but by toil of hand and keenness of brain. The basic struggle here, indeed, is not directly a fight for food and life, but for the artificial means by which food is procured and life maintained, namely, money. The fierce animal struggle has evolved into the more kindly human one; in place of the bloody strife with tooth and claw there is the more amicable combat of wit and skill. Man has discovered- though he has as yet only partially learned this- that there are better methods of self-protection than that of attacking, killing, and despoiling others; that by such a method he endangers his own comfort, happiness, and even life; and that it is better to engage in a bloodless competition for supremacy, and leave every person to take his place in life according to the measure of his mental capacity. Right has begun to take the place of might; and although the struggle is largely one for money, it is not altogether so, but is surely evolving into one for the securing of those mental qualities which increase man‘s nobility, and better fit him as an instrument of life and progress. Such are the intellectual qualities of reason, judgement, tact, foresight, ingenuity, resource, inventiveness; and the moral qualities of kindness, forbearance, sympathy, forgiveness, reverence, honesty, justice. Human education at present is almost entirely along these intellectual and moral lines. The instruments by which man struggles with man for the capacity to live and to endure are faculties, not fangs; talents, not talons. Intellectual and moral excellence constitute the passport to existence in the human world. The intellectually vigorous and the morally upright take the lead in the race of life. Nevertheless, the
  • 118. weaker ones take their place, and have scope and opportunity for development. Slowly man is learning that in the protection of others- the weak, the suffering, and the afflicted-he is affording a surer protection for himself. Such methods of self-protection we perceive an enormous advance upon the savage instinct of the brute. Commerce, crafts, and games take the place of plunder and destruction; and limited animal affection is enlarged to benevolence and philanthropy. In human competition the brute still lurks, but its ferocity is subdued; its nature is largely transmuted into something better, more beneficent; its dark horror is lightened up with the warm rays of kindness; its harshness is softened by the gentleness of a larger and ever-increasing love. But high as is human over animal self-protection, there is another, form of self-protection that is as high above the human as that is above the animal, and that is divine or spiritual protection. By this method the man does not fight with others physically, after the manner of the brute; he does not struggle with others mentally, as does the human being; he fights with the brute within himself, in order to annihilate it; he struggles with the greed in his own nature, that he may fit himself to live the higher, nobler, more enduring life of peace, goodwill, and wisdom. In divine protection the fierce struggle with others is at and end, the competition of self-interest is no more, and the weapons employed are self-sacrifice and non-resistance. And these weapons can only be understood and employed by him whose moral elevation is such as to gain him admittance to the World of Divine Things. Just as the fanged and tallied brute cannot grasp and use those mental weapons of resource and inventiveness which the more highly endowed and talented human being employs with such ease and power, so the self-seeking man cannot comprehend and wield those instruments of self- sacrifice and non-resistance with which the divine man not merely shields himself but protects the whole world. Self-interest, resistance to, and competition with others, are the most powerful factors in the purely human life; but in the divine life, self-obliteration, and deep-felt sympathy with, and compassion for others, are the dominant motives. The divine man conquers by non-retaliation and by yielding where others enter into selfish strife; and his gentle powers are so invincible that the lesser selfish powers, great and potent as those are when compared with the merely animal equipment‘s, dissolve away in ineffectual weakness. As bestial instincts cannot vie with human powers, so human powers cannot stand against divine principles; and the divine man stands upon, and acts from, such principles. In him the human qualities mentioned are merged into the divine principles of Patience, Humility, Purity, Compassion, and Love. Both the animal and the human are concerned only with the protection and preservation of the body, which is temporal; but the divine man‘s preservation is concerned with the spirit, which is eternal, like the principles upon which he stands. In a word, divine preservation consists in preserving the mind from passion and selfishness, and imbuing it with pureness and wisdom. We get a glimpse into the vast power inherent in self-sacrifice and non-resistance when we contemplate the lives and characters of the few divine men who practiced these principles - in Jesus, Buddha, and others. All men, broadly speaking, yield and bow down to these great Masters in Divine Things. Men who have reached the greatest heights in worldly achievement-monarchs, conquerors, successful generals, statesmen, orators, financiers- bow in humble reverence and awe before the names of those Great Ones, recognizing intuitively that their own conquests and achievements, with all their worldly glory, are as nothing compared with that supreme self-conquest, that mighty spiritual achievement, which those gentle teachers of mankind exhibited. To-day some five hundred millions of people bow down to Buddha as their Guide and Master, and some three hundred millions likewise bend before Jesus as their Saviour and the Keeper of their lives.
  • 119. In these three methods of self-protection-animal, human, and spiritual-we perceive the fundamental forces which are at work in the evolution of sentient beings; an evolution beginning with the lowest creature and extending to the deviants being of whom we have any direct knowledge. We also see that there is no inherent evil in any of these methods, that all are equally legitimate, and belong to the cosmic order of things. Each in its own sphere is right and necessary, leading to higher and higher intelligence, and deeper and deeper knowledge. The animal defends itself in accordance with its nature and the limits of its knowledge; the human being protects itself likewise in harmony with the dictates of his human nature; and the divine being eternally preserves himself in peace and blessedness by virtue of his clearer insight and deeper wisdom. Nor is any measure of force lost during the process of evolution. The brute passion is, in man, transmuted into intellectual and moral energy, and in the divine man both are merged into control and equanimity. 7. Aviation and the new consciousness DR. BUCKE, in his work Cosmic Consciousness, published some ten years ago, stated that aerial navigation would become an accomplished fact in the near future, and that it would revolutionize the social and economic conditions of the world. So far as the advent of the new means of travel is concerned, he has proved to be a true prophet, and i am convinced that his prophecy of its revolutionizing aspect will shortly begin to be proved true. Of this great revolution in its completion Dr. Bucke says: "Before aerial navigation boundaries, tariffs, and perhaps, distinctions of language will fade out. Great cities will no longer have reason for being, and will melt away. The men who now dwell in cities will inhabit, in summer, the mountains and the sea shores; building often in airy and beautiful spots, now almost or quite inaccessible, commanding the most extensive and magnificent views. In the winter they will probably dwell in communities of moderate size. As the herding together, as now, in great cities, so the isolation of the worker of the soil will become a thing of the past. Space will be practically annihilated; there will be no crowding together and no enforced solitude." The above is a beautiful picture of the result upon human society of the discovery of aviation, and it will no doubt prove true. Not that such a condition will be brought about rapidly. It will at least require several hundred years, and it is highly probable that it will be several thousand years before it is fully realized. As yet we are only in the crudest beginnings of flying, and the mastery of the air as a medium of human transit affords more scope for improvement and invention than any of the mechanical modes of locomotion hitherto employed. Invention will follow upon invention, through a long period of time, until men will be able to propel themselves through the air with a swiftness, a safety, and a skill perhaps equal to that of the migratory birds for the swiftest type. It was Edison who long years ago declared that the ultimate and perfected flying-machine would be built on the principle of the bird. While conforming more or less to this principle, the present machines are more on the principle of the kite, the motor-driving power taking the place of the string. In his book The Coming Race Lord Lytton describes the individuals of that race as each possessing a pair of mechanical wings which were under the complete control of the operator, and by means of which he soared into their and propelled himself gracefully through space. Doubtless this will be form which the perfected flying-machine will take, and it conforms to that "principle of the bird" referred to by Edison. But the phase of aviation with which we are here concerned is that which connects it with the evolving consciousness of man; for out of that self-consciousness, which is now man‘s dominant condition, and
  • 120. which is inevitably connected with struggle and suffering, with labor and sorrow, the beginnings of a higher, diviner form of consciousness are making their appearances. From man‘s present state of imperfection, combined with ceaseless aspiration towards a better, but as yet undefined, state, there is surely coming, as form a matrix, a new order of life, a more blessed condition, a greatly evolved form of consciousness hitherto unknown to man except in a few isolated cases. Invention is allied to progress-is, indeed, an outward manifestation of inward growth. All man‘s inventions are adaptations to his expanding consciousness, and they definitely mark important turning- points in the evolution of the race. At the moment man‘s necessity the new and needed thing appears. Just as the human intellect was preparing to break from the bonds of old superstitions, and sally forth in joyous and untrammeled freedom, the printing press appeared as the chief instrument of man‘s liberation. The coming of the steam engine tallied with the accelerated speed of human thought as it began to shake off its ancient lethargy; and when the expanding human mind could no longer move in a contracted local circle, or remain satisfied with petty selfish differences, the locomotive came forth to meet man‘s wider range, and to afford him scope for his increased mental activities and enlarged sympathies. And now another invention has entered the field of actuality; one growing out of, yet more important than, any which have preceded it- that of flying. Man has hitherto employed the solid earth and the less solid water as the medium of material transit; but now he is to make and obedient servant of the tenuous atmosphere, using it to speed bird-like directly to his desired destination. And this is an important outward sign of the new stride in evolution which the race is now taking. Rapid and restless changes are marking the present transition period. Old religions and forms of government are passing away. New modes of thought and action are everywhere appearing. Man‘s consciousness is expanding. The human form of consciousness is about to touch, is indeed touching, the point of completion, and from it there will spring, is already springing, the Divine form of consciousness which is destined to transform the entire human race. For under that the reign of consciousness nearly everything, as it at present obtains in the world, will be reversed. Man, being then Divine, will act divinely. All those powerful human passions which now dominate the race, and are the chief springs of action, will then take a subordinate place, and will be under the control and guidance of man‘s Divine will and wisdom. He will be master of himself and master of the earth. Already man has been feeling the growing wings of this new consciousness wherewith he will soar into the highest regions of knowledge and blessedness. For ages, and under the guise of numerous religions, he has aspired to it, and the prophets have foretold it, and now he is to obtain his Divine birthright. Aviation is the first outward symbol, as it were, of this new mind which is now taking shape. It is also more than a symbol, for its will form the first important material instrument by the aid of which the new consciousness will begin to materialize its glorious ideas and magnificent schemes for the happiness of to-day is misery compared with that blessed state which will obtain on the earth when the Divine condition has become well established. The beginnings of this new condition, as aided by aviation, will be noticed in the breaking down of certain material limitations between man and man, and between nations, and the disappearance of war; along with it will come a free and fraternal industrial intercourse between the nations, and a growing tendency to adopt in practice those fundamental religious principles which are universal, and thus to inaugurate one great world-wide religion. As aviation becomes more perfected, and enters into man‘s economical schemes, these new conditions-the first seedlings, as it were, of the new consciousness-will begin to appear, for when men are rapidly fitting from country to country, from continent to continent, on "the wings of the wind," they will be brought so close together, both socially and industrially, that the old animosities which now exist between them will die out, the old national barriers will quietly break down and disappear, and, without any revolutionary upheaval, the nations will become as one
  • 121. country, sinking all those interests which are not for the mutual good of all nations. The locomotive is an instance of the above, though in the region of self-consciousness, in that it rendered civil war impossible, making of each nation, formerly dividend against itself, a united family working harmoniously together. Aviation, however, will be connected with a higher region of consciousness altogether, namely, the cosmic consciousness, and its results will be much more striking and more far-reaching than those which have hitherto taken place in man‘s self-conscious condition. At present we are only in the experimental stage of aviation, but this will be quickly followed by the economic stage, in which flying will be adapted to human travel and mercantile uses; and almost immediately this is reached the new conditions is societies and nations will begin to manifest themselves, and once having commenced they will gradually absorb the old forms of life, using them as material on which to feed their growing beauty and grandeur. And new and grand men will arise having this higher consciousness, and they will be the leading instruments in establishing this new order of things upon the earth. 8. The new courage THE virtue of courage is generally referred to in its physical manifestation, and it is significant in this particular- that its symbol is a beast of prey, namely, the lion. The dictionary rendering adheres to this physical aspect of courage, for on turning up the word I find its meanings are given as "bravery, fearlessness, intrepidity," no other rendering being given. The solider is the human type of courage, and the current sayings concerning courage are: "As courageous as a lion" and "As brave as a solider." The lion and the solider are alike fearless in attack and defense, and both will forfeit life rather than yield; but it is an entirely animal physical attack and defense. Courage, however, cannot be confined to this phase-indeed, this is its lowest manifestation -for it has many aspects, many modes of action; and as man rises in the moral and spiritual scale his courage becomes transmuted, taking a newer and higher form. But before proceeding to the highest form of courage, which is the subject of this article, it is necessary that the lower forms should be first considered. With the physical form of courage already referred to all are familiar. It is common both to animals and men. It arises in fearlessness. Its twofold mode of action is attack and defense. It will be seen, however, that this kind of courage is inevitably associated with suffering, even with destruction and death, as daily manifested both in the animal and human spheres of life; self-protection being its dominant motive, whether in attack or defense. But man is not only and merely an animal, a physical being; he is also a moral and intellectual being; and along with his moral evolution he began to develop a higher kind of courage-not the highest, or the New Courage herein referred to; but yet a great advance on the purely animal courage, namely, moral courage. In physical courage the other person‘s body or property is attacked, while one‘s own body or property is defended. In moral courage the other person‘s ideas, opinions, or principles are attacked, one‘s own ideas, opinions, and principles being defended. There is the same fearlessness, the same attack and defense so far as the spirit of courage is concerned; but as regards its letter, these conditions have undergone a change; their physical aspect has disappeared, and, having undergone a process of transmutation, has reappeared in a new form, for moral courage is concerned not with persons as persons, but with their principles. It is, indeed, purely mental; and while it is still concerned with destruction and is associated with suffering, the destruction is a bloodless and intellectual one, namely, the destruction of other men‘s opinions, and its suffering is mental and not physical. This form of courage is now generally recognized, and is always referred to as moral courage, to distinguish it from common or physical courage. It is, without doubt, a comparatively recent development in the evolution of the race, and is entirely absent from animals. A few thousand years ago
  • 122. it was, in all probability, an exceeding rare and new faculty, and it is still in process of development, large numbers of the race not yet having evolved it; for while it is probable that at least seventy-five per cent of the race possess a considerable development of physical courage, it is doubtful whether twenty per cent possess any marked degree of moral courage; so much so that those in full possession of it are marked off from their fellows as men of a higher grade of character, and generally- though not necessarily and always- as leaders of men in their particular sphere of action. But the New Courage, up to a consideration of which the preceding remarks have been leading, is a still higher form of courage- is, indeed, as much above and beyond moral courage as moral courage is above and beyond physical courage; and is as separate and distinct from it as that is from its precedent form. I have called it the New Courage because it is now new in the race, its manifestation being at present very rare, and, therefore, little understood. Though very different from moral courage, it results from it, just as moral courage, though very different from physical courage, though very different from physical courage results from it. Physical courage is of the animal; moral courage is of the human; the New Courage is of the Divine. The new Courage is, therefore, Divine fearlessness as distinguished from animal or human fearlessness. This Divine fearlessness has a twofold aspect. It at first consists in fearlessly attacking and overcoming the enemies within one‘s own mind-instead of the enemies without, as in the other two forms of courage- and is afterwards characterized by an entirely new method of conduct towards others, especially where external enmity and opposition have to be met. It is its latter and perfected stage with which we are here concerned - that is, with its outward manifestation. We have seen how a man having physical courage acts in defense of his life and property; also how a man having moral courage acts in defense of his opinions; and now, how does one act who has Divine courage? He who has the New Courage does not attack other men or defend himself; does not attack their opinions or defend his own; he is the defender of all men, and that from which he defends them is their own folly, their own ungoverned passions. While never seeking to protect himself, he so acts as to shield others from their deadliest enemy, namely, the evil within themselves. Both physical and moral courage make much noise. In the one there is the clash of arms and the roar of artillery, along with the shouts of the victories and the groans of the dying; in the other there is the fierce war of opinions and the clamor of conflicting tongues. But in the New Courage there is a profound silence; yet this silence has more influence and enduring power in one man than that noise has in entire humanity. The New Courage may, indeed be described as the courage to be silent. Thus, when the man of Divine courage is attacked, abused, or slandered, he remains serenely silent. Yet this is not a proud and selfish silence. It is a silence based upon a right knowledge of life and having a profound and beneficent purpose; that purpose being the good of the attacking person (and, through him, of all mankind) by protecting him from the evil passion by which he is so injuriously influenced. To remain silent, calm, and compassionate in the midst of a seething sea of human passions externally pressing upon one-to achieve this requires a lofty courage such as is yet almost unknown to men; so much so that the few men who have it, although misunderstood and persecuted through life, are afterwards worshiped by mankind as Divine and miraculous beings. And here we see how this courage continues to operate even after its possessor is gone from mortal vision. The physically courageous man conquers another in fight; the morally courageous man conquers the opinions of many men, and wins thousands to his cause; but the divinely courageous man conquers the world, and his conquest is one of blessedness and peace, and not of bloodshed or party strife. In the New Courage, attack and defense, and they obtain in the two lower kinds of courage, have entirely disappeared. Nevertheless, they have not been destroyed; they still exist in the sporty, but have
  • 123. become blended into one, have been transmuted into a sublime and universal kindness; for when the Divine man refrains from engaging in combat with his adversary, and lets him go feeling that he has all the victory, it is because his thought is all for his mistaken enemy, and not for his own defense. He is prompted by a profound compassion for his enemy, a compassion based on Divine and perfect knowledge; and if his silent act does not always subdue the passions of his adversary at the time being, it subdues the passions of thousands of men through hundreds of future generations merely by its recital, so great and far-reaching is the power of one deed of truth. In the New Courage, then, silent kindness (and by this meant something vastly different from that human impulse commonly called kindness) is both attack and defense. Instead of attempting to conquer passion by fiercer passion - which is the human way- it conquers it, and far more successfully, by it‘s opposite, namely, gentleness, which is the Divine way. In the human sense, passion is not opposed at all, but is left alone; yet, in reality, it is opposed by something far more powerful than passion, for in all combats between Divine gentleness and human passion gentleness is the supreme victor. Thus, the man of Divine courage, while, viewed from the lower standards of bravery, is not protecting or defending himself, and may for the time being be regarded as a coward, is, in reality, defending himself far more perfectly and successfully than the passionate fighters and partisans; for he who protects his enemy with love, and shields all men with the acts of Divine gentleness, is throwing around himself an eternal shield and protection. For instances of this New Courage one has to go to the Great Spiritual Leaders of the race, so rare is it. The most striking instance is that of Jesus, who, when mocked, smitten, and crucified, did not retaliate, or offer the least resistance, or speak a world in self-defense; and the fact that the rabble taunted Him with the accusation, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save," seems to show that they regarded Him both as an impostor and a coward. Think of the sublime courage required to pass through such an ordeal, and you will have some conception as to how far the New Courage transcends the ordinary human forms of bravery. That transcendent act of courage, too, is to-day universally recognized as Divine, and it still continues to lift men above their warring, selfish passions. When the Buddha was abused and falsely accused by His enemies, He always remained silent; and it not infrequently happened that those who came as accusing enemies went away as worshiping friends and disciples, so powerful was His silent gentleness. It will be long, as we count time, before such courage becomes general in the race; but everything is making towards it. Other men will come who possess it, and then more an more, until at last the race will stand at this Divine level. Then selfishness and sorrow will be ended, and the painful conflict of human passions will no more be heard upon earth. Eight pillars of prosperity. By James Allen. Contents 1. Preface 2. Eight pillars 3. First pillar – Energy 4. Second pillar – Economy 5. Third pillar – Integrity 6. Fourth pillar – System 7. Fifth pillar – Sympathy
  • 124. 8. Sixth pillar – Sincerity 9. Seventh pillar – Impartiality 10. Eighth pillar – Self-reliance 11. The temple of prosperity Preface It is popularly supposed that a greater prosperity for individuals or nations can only come through a political and social reconstruction. This cannot be true apart from the practice of the moral virtues in the individuals that comprise a nation. Better laws and social conditions will always follow a higher realisation of morality among the individuals of a community, but no legal enactment can give prosperity to, nay it cannot prevent the ruin of, a man or a nation that has become lax and decadent in the pursuit and practice of virtue. The moral virtues are the foundation and support of prosperity as they are the soul of greatness. They endure for ever, and all the works of man which endure are built upon them. Without them there is neither strength, stability, nor substantial reality, but only ephemeral dreams. To find moral principles is to have found prosperity, greatness, truth, and is therefore to be strong, valiant, joyful and free. JAMES ALLEN ―Bryngoleu,‖ Ilfracombe, England. 1. Eight pillars Prosperity rests upon a moral foundation. It is popularly supposed to rest upon an immoral foundation - that is, upon trickery, sharp practice, deception and greed. One commonly hears even an otherwise intelligent man declare that ―No man can be successful in business unless he is dishonest,‖ thus regarding business prosperity – a good thing – as the effect of dishonesty – a bad thing. Such a statement is superficial and thoughtless, and reveals a total lack of knowledge of moral causation, as well as a very limited grasp of the facts of life. It is as though one should sow henbane and reap spinach, or erect a brick house on a quagmire - things impossible in the natural order of causation, and therefore not to be attempted. The spiritual or moral order of causation is not different in principle, but only in nature. The same law obtains in things unseen – in thoughts and deeds - as in things seen – in natural phenomena. Man sees the processes in natural objects, and acts in accordance with them, but not seeing the spiritual processes, he imagines that they do not obtain, and so he does not act in harmony with them. Yet these spiritual processes are just as simple and just as sure as the natural processes. They are indeed the same natural modes manifesting in the world of mind. All the parables and a large number of the sayings of the Great Teachers are designed to illustrate this fact. The natural world is the mental world made visible. The seen is the mirror of the unseen. The upper half of a circle is in no way different from the lower half, but its sphericity is reversed. The material and the mental are not two detached arcs in the universe, they are the two halves of a complete circle. The natural and the spiritual are not at eternal enmity, but in the true order of the universe are eternally at one. It is in the unnatural - in the abuse of function and faculty – where division arises, and where main is wrested back, with repeated sufferings, from the perfect circle from which he has tried to depart. Every process in matter is also a process in mind. Every natural law has its spiritual counterpart. Take any natural object, and you will find its fundamental processes in the mental sphere if you rightly search. Consider, for instance, the germination of a seed and its growth into a plant with the final
  • 125. development of a flower, and back to seed again. This also is a mental process. Thoughts are seeds which, falling in the soil of the mind, germinate and develop until they reach the completed stage, blossoming into deeds good or bad, brilliant or stupid, according to their nature, and ending as seeds of thought to be again sown in other minds. A teacher is a sower of seed, a spiritual agriculturist, while he who teaches himself is the wise farmer of his own mental plot. The growth of a thought is as the growth of a plant. The seed must be sown seasonably, and time is required for its full development into the plant of knowledge and the flower of wisdom. While writing this, I pause, and turn to look through my study window, and there, a hundred yards away, is a tall tree in the top of which some enterprising rook from a rookery hard by, has, for the first time, built its nest. A strong, north-east wind is blowing, so that the top of the tree is swayed violently to and fro by the onset of the blast; yet there is no danger to that frail thing of sticks and hair, and the mother bird, sitting upon her eggs, has no fear of the storm. Why is this? It is because the bird has instinctively built her nest in harmony with principles which ensure the maximum strength and security. First, a fork is chosen as the foundation for the nest, and not a space between two separate branches, so that, however great may be the swaying of the tree top, the position of the nest is not altered, nor its structure disturbed; then the nest is built on a circular plan so as to offer the greatest resistance to any external pressure, as well as to obtain more perfect compactness within, in accordance with its purpose; and so, however the tempest may rage, the birds rest in comfort and security. This is a very simple and familiar object, and yet, in the strict obedience of its structure to mathematical law, it becomes, to the wise, a parable of enlightenment, teaching them that only by ordering one‘s deeds in accordance with fixed principles is perfect surety, perfect security, and perfect peace obtained amid the uncertainty of events and the turbulent tempests of life. A house or a temple built by man is a much more complicated structure than a bird‘s nest, yet it is erected in accordance with those mathematical principles which are everywhere evidenced in nature. And here is seen how man, in material things, obeys universal principles. He never attempts to put up a building in defiance of geometrical proportions, for he knows that such a building would be unsafe, and that the first storm would, in all probability, level it to the ground, if, indeed, it did not fall about his ears during the process of erection. Man in his material building scrupulously obeys the fixed principles of circle, square and angle, and, aided by rule, plumbline, and compasses, he raises a structure which will resist the fiercest storms, and afford him a secure shelter and safe protection. All this is very simple, the reader may say. Yes, it is simple because it is true and perfect; so true that it cannot admit the smallest compromise, and so perfect that no man can improve upon it. Man, through long experience, has learned these principles of the material world, and sees the wisdom of obeying them, and I have thus referred to them in order to lead up to a consideration of those fixed principles in the mental or spiritual world which are just as simple, and just as eternally true and perfect, yet are at present so little understood by man that he daily violates them, because ignorant of their nature, and unconscious of the harm he is all the time inflicting upon himself. In mind as in matter, in thoughts as in things, in deeds as in natural processes, there is a fixed foundation of law which, if consciously or ignorantly ignored leads to disaster, and defeat. It is, indeed, the ignorant violation of this law which is the cause of the world‘s pain and sorrow. In matter, this law is presented as mathematical; in mind, it is perceived as moral. But the mathematical and the moral are not separate and opposed; they are but two aspects of a united whole. The fixed principles of mathematics, to which all matter is subject, are the body of which the spirit is ethical; while the eternal principles of morality are mathematical truisms operating in the universe of mind. It is as impossible to live successfully apart from moral principles, as to build successfully while ignoring mathematical principles. Characters, like houses, only stand firmly when built on a foundation of moral law - and they are built up slowly and laboriously, deed by deed, for in the building of character, the bricks are
  • 126. deeds. Business and all human enterprises are not exempt from the eternal order, but can only stand securely by the observance of fixed laws. Prosperity, to be stable and enduring, must rest on a solid foundation of moral principle, and be supported by the adamantine pillars of sterling character and moral worth. In the attempt to run a business in defiance of moral principles, disaster, of one kind or another, is inevitable. The permanently prosperous men in any community are not its tricksters and deceivers, but its reliable and upright men. The Quakers are acknowledged to be the most upright men in the British community, and, although their numbers are small, they are the most prosperous. The Jains in India are similar both in numbers and sterling worth, and they are the most prosperous people in India. Men speak of ―building up a business,‖ and, indeed, a business is as much a building as is a brick house or a stone church, albeit the process of building is a mental one. Prosperity, like a house, is a roof over a man‘s head, affording him protection and comfort. A roof presupposes a support, and a support necessitates a foundation. The roof of prosperity, then, is supported by the following eight pillars which are cemented in a foundation of moral consistency:- 1. Energy 2. Economy 3. Integrity 4. System 5. Sympathy 6. Sincerity 7. Impartiality 8. Self-reliance A business built up on the faultless practice of all these principles would be so firm and enduring as to be invincible. Nothing could injure it; nothing could undermine its prosperity, nothing could interrupt its success, or bring it to the ground; but that success would be assured with incessant increase so long as the principles were adhered to. On the other hand, where these principles were all absent, there could be no success of any kind; there could not even be a business at all, for there would be nothing to produce the adherence of one part with another; but there would be that lack of life, that absence of fibre and consistency which animates and gives body and form to anything whatsoever. Picture a man with all these principles absent from his mind, his daily life, and even if your knowledge of these principles is but slight and imperfect, yet you could not think of such a man as doing any successful work. You could picture him as leading the confused life of a shiftless tramp but to imagine him at the head of a business, as the centre of an organisation, or as a responsible and controlling agent in any department of life – this you could not do, because you realise its impossibility. The fact that no one of moderate morality and intelligence can think of such a man as commanding any success, should, to all those who have not yet grasped the import of these principles, and therefore declare that morality is not a factor, but rather a hindrance, in prosperity, be a sound proof to them that their conclusion is totally wrong, for if it was right, then the greater the lack of these moral principles, the greater would be the success. These eight principles, then, in greater or lesser degree, are the causative factors in all success of whatsoever kind. Underneath all prosperity they are the strong supports, and, howsoever appearances may be against such a conclusion, a measure of them informs and sustains every effort which is crowned with that excellence which men name success.
  • 127. It is true that comparatively few successful men practice, in their entirety and perfection, all these eight principles, but there are those who do, and they are the leaders, teachers, and guides of men, the supports of human society, and the strong pioneers in the van of human evolution. But while few achieve that moral perfection which ensures the acme of success, all lesser successes come from the partial observance of these principles which are so powerful in the production of good results that even perfection in any two or three of them alone is sufficient to ensure an ordinary degree of prosperity, and maintain a measure of local influence at least for a time, while the same perfection in two or three with partial excellence in all, or nearly all, the others, will render permanent that limited success and influence which will, necessarily, grow and extend in exact ratio with a more intimate knowledge and practice of those principles which, at present, are only partially incorporated in the character. The boundary lines of a man‘s morality mark the limits of his success. So true is this that to know a man‘s moral status would be to know – to mathematically gauge – his ultimate success or failure. The temple of prosperity only stands in so far as it is supported by its moral pillars; as they are weakened, it becomes insecure; in so far as they are withdrawn, it crumbles away and totters to ruin. Ultimate failure and defeat are inevitable where moral principles are ignored or defied – inevitable in the nature of things as cause and effect. As a stone thrown upward returns to the earth, so every deed, good or bad, returns upon him that sent it forth. Every unmoral or immoral act frustrates the end at which it aims, and every such succeeding act puts it further and further away as an achieved realisation. On the other hand, every moral act is another solid brick in the temple of prosperity, another round of strength and sculptured beauty in the pillars which support it. Individuals, families, nations grow and prosper in harmony with their growth in moral strength and knowledge; they fall and fail in accordance with their moral decadence. Mentally, as physically, only that which has form and solidity can stand and endure. The unmoral is nothingness, and from it nothing can be formed. It is the negation of substance. The immoral is destruction. It is the negation of form. It is a process of spiritual denudation. While it undermines and disintegrates, it leaves the scattered material ready for the wise builder to put it into form again; and the wise builder is Morality. The moral is substance, form, and building power in one. Morality always builds up and preserves, for that is its nature, being the opposite of immorality, which always breaks down and destroys. Morality is the master–builder everywhere, whether in individuals or nations. Morality is invincible, and he who stands upon it to the end, stands upon an impregnable rock, so that his defeat is impossible, his triumph certain. He will be tried, and that to the uttermost, for without fighting there can be no victory, and so only can his moral powers be perfected, and it is in the nature of fixed principles, as of everything finely and perfectly wrought, to have their strength tested and proved. The steel bars which are to perform the strongest and best uses in the world must be subjected to a severe strain by the ironmaster, as a test of their texture and efficiency, before they are sent from his foundry. The brickmaker throws aside the bricks which have given way under the severe heat. So he who is to be greatly and permanently successful will pass through the strain of adverse circumstances and the fire of temptation with his moral nature not merely not undermined, but strengthened and beautified. He will be like a bar of well-wrought steel, fit for the highest use, and the universe will see, as the ironmaster his finely-wrought steel, that the use does not escape him. Immorality is assailable at every point, and he who tries to stand upon it, sinks into the morass of desolation. Even while his efforts seem to stand, they are crumbling away. The climax of failure is inevitable. While the immoral man is chuckling over his ill-gotten gains, there is already a hole in his pocket through which his gold is falling. While he who begins with morality, yet deserts it for gain in the hour of trial, is like the brick which breaks on the first application of heat; he is not fit for use, and
  • 128. the universe casts him aside, yet not finally, for he is a being, and not a brick; and he can live and learn, can repent and be restored. Moral force is the life of all success, and the sustaining element in all prosperity; but there are various kinds of success, and it is frequently necessary that a man should fail in one direction that he may reach up to a greater and more far-reaching success. If, for instance, a literary, artistic, or spiritual genius should begin by trying to make money, it may be, and often is, to his advantage and the betterment of his genius that he should fail therein, so that he may achieve that more sublime success wherein lies his real power. Many a millionaire would doubtless be willing to barter his millions for the literary success of a Shakespeare or the spiritual success of a Buddha, and would thereby consider that he had made a good bargain. Exceptional spiritual success is rarely accompanied with riches, yet financial success cannot in any way compare with it in greatness and grandeur. But I am not, in this book, dealing with the success of the saint or spiritual genius but with that success which concerns the welfare, well-being, and happiness of the broadly average man and woman, in a word, with the prosperity which, while being more or less connected with money – being present and temporal – yet is not confined thereto, but extends to and embraces all human activities, and which particularly relates to that harmony of the individual with his circumstances which produces that satisfaction called happiness and that comfort known as prosperity. To the achievement of this end, so desirable to the mass of mankind, let us now see how the eight principles operate, how the roof of prosperity is raised and made secure upon the pillars by which it is supported. 2. First pillar – Energy Energy is the working power in all achievement. Inert coal it converts into fire, and water it transmutes into steam; it vivifies and intensifies the commonest talent until it approaches to genius, and when it touches the mind of the dullard, it turns into a living fire that which before was sleeping in inertia. Energy is a moral virtue, its opposing vice being laziness. As a virtue, it can be cultivated, and the lazy man can become energetic by forcibly arousing himself to exertion. Compared with the energetic man, the lazy man is not half alive. Even while the latter is talking about the difficult of doing a thing, the former is doing it. the active man has done a considerable amount of work before the lazy man has roused himself from sleep. While the lazy man is waiting for an opportunity, the active man has gone out, and met and utilized half a dozen opportunities. He does things while the other is rubbing his eyes. Energy is one of the primary forces: without it nothing can be accomplished. It is the basic element in all forms of action. The entire universe is a manifestation of tireless, though inscrutable energy. Energy is, indeed, life, and without it there would be no universe, no life. When a man has ceased to act, when the body lies inert, and all the functions have ceased to act, then we say he is dead; and in so far as a man fails to act, he is so far dead. Man, mentally and physically, is framed for action, and not for swinish ease. Every muscle of the body (being a lever for exertion) is a rebuke to the lazy man. Every bone and nerve is fashioned for resistance; every function and faculty is there for a legitimate use. All things have their end in action; al things are perfected in use. This being so, there is no prosperity for the lazy man, no happiness, no refuge and no rest; for him, there is not even the ease which he covets, for he at last becomes a homeless outcast, a troubled, harried, despised man, so that the proverb wisely puts it that ―The lazy man does the hardest work‖, in that, avoiding the systematic labour of skill, he brings upon himself the hardest lot. Yet energy misapplied is better than no energy at all. This is powerfully put by St. John in the words: ―I would have you either hot or cold; if you are lukewarm I will spew you out of my mouth‖. The extremes of heat and cold here symbolize the transforming agency of energy, in its good and bad aspects.
  • 129. The lukewarm stage is colourless, lifeless, useless; it can scarcely be said to have either virtue or vice, and is merely barren empty, fruitless. The man who applies his abounding energy to bad ends, has, at the very power with which the strives to acquire his selfish ends, will bring upon him such difficulties, pains, and sorrows, that will compel him to learn by experience, and so at last to re-fashion his base of action. At the right moment, when his mental eyes open to better purposes, he will turn round and cut new and proper channels for the outflow of his power, and will then be just as strong in good as he formerly was in evil. This truth is beautifully crystallized in the old proverb, ―The greater the sinner, the great the saint‖. Energy is power, and without it there will be no accomplishment; there will not even be virtue, for virtue does not only consist of not doing evil, but also, primarily, of doing good. There are those who try, yet fail through insufficient energy. Their efforts are too feeble to produce positive results. Such are not vicious, and because they never do any deliberate harm, are usually spoken of as good men that fail. But to lack the initiative to do harm is not to be good; it is only to be weak and powerless. He is the truly good man who, having the power to do evil, yet chooses to direct his energies in ways that are good. Without a considerable degree of energy, therefore, there will be no moral power. What good there is, will be latent and sleeping; there will be no going forth of good, just as there can be no mechanical motion without the motive power. Energy is the informing power in all doing in every department of life, and whether it be along material or spiritual lines. The call to action, which comes not only from the soldier but from the lips or pen of every teacher in every grade of thought, is a call to men to rouse their sleeping energy, and to do vigorously the task in hand. Even the men of contemplation and mediation never cease to rouse their disciples to exertion in meditative thought, is a call to men to rouse their sleeping energy, and to do vigorously the task in hand. Even the men of contemplation and meditation never cease to rouse their disciples to exertion in meditative thought. Energy is alike needed in all spheres of life, and not only are the rules of the soldier, the engineer and the merchant rules of action, but nearly all the percepts of the saviors, sages, and saints are precepts of doing. The advice of one of the Great Teachers to his disciples – ―Keep wide awake‖, tersely expresses the necessity for tireless energy if one‘s purpose is to be accomplished, and is equally good advice to the salesman as to the saint. ―Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty‖, and liberty is the reaching of one‘s fixed end. It was the same Teacher that said: ―If anything is to be done, let a man do it at once; let him attack it vigorously!‖ The wisdom of this advice is seen when it is remembered that action is creative, that increase and development follow upon legitimate use. To get more energy we must use to the full that which we already possess. Only to him that that is given. Only to him that puts his hand vigorously to some task does power and freedom come. But energy, to be productive, must not only be directed towards good ends, it must be carefully controlled and conserved. ―The conservation of energy‖ is a modern term expressive of that principle in nature by which no energy is wasted or lost, and the man whose energies are to be fruitful in results must work intelligently upon this principle. Noise and hurry are so much energy running to waste. ―More haste, less speed‖. The maximum of noise usually accompanies the minimum of accomplishment. With much talk there is little doing. Working steam is not heard. It is the escaping steam which makes a great noise. It is the concentrated powder which drives the bullet to its mark. In so far as a man intensifies his energies by conserving them, and concentrating them upon the accomplishment of his purpose, just so far does he gain quietness and silence, in response and calmness. It is great delusion that noise means power. There is no great baby than the blustering boaster. Physically a man, he is but an infant mentally, and having no strength to anything, and no work to show, he tries to make up for it by loudly proclaiming what he has done, or could do.
  • 130. ―Still waters run deep,‖ and the great universal forces are inaudible. Where calmness is, there is the greatest power. Calmness is the sure indication of a strong, welltrained, patiently disciplined mind. The calm man knows his business, be sure of it. His words are few, but they tell. His schemes are well planned, and they work true, like a well balanced machine. He sees a long way ahead, and makes straight for his object. The enemy, Difficulty, he converts into a friend, and makes profitable use of him, for he has studied well how to ―agree with his adversary while he is in the way with him‖, Like a wise general, he has anticipated all emergencies. Indeed, he is the man who is prepared beforehand. In his meditations, in the counsels of his judgement, he has conferred with causes, and has caught the bent of all contingencies. He is never taken by surprise; is never in a hurry, is safe in the keeping of his own steadfastness, and is sure of his ground. You may think you have got him, only to find, the next moment, that you have tripped in your haste, and that he has got you, or rather that you, wanting calmness, have hurried yourself into the dilemma which you had prepared for him. Your impulse cannot do battle with his deliberation, but is foiled at the first attack; your uncurbed energy cannot turn aside the wisely directed steam of his concentrated power. He is ―armed at all points‖. By a mental Ju- Jitsu acquired through self discipline, he meets opposition in such a way that it destroys itself. Upbraid him with angry words, and the reproof hidden in his gentle reply searches to the very heart of your folly, and the fire of your anger sinks into the ashes of remorse. Approach him with a vulgar familiarity, and his look at once fill you with shame, and brings you back to your senses. As he is prepared for all events, so he is ready for all men; though no men are ready for him. All weaknesses are betrayed in his presence, and he commands by an inherent force which calmness has rendered habitual and unconscious. Calmness, as distinguished from the dead placidity of languor, is the acme of concentrated energy. There is a focused mentality behind it. in agitation and excitement the mentality is dispersed. It is irresponsible, and is without force or weight. The fussy, peevish, irritable man has no influence. He repels, and not attracts. He wonders why his ―easy going‖ neighbour succeeds, and is sought after, while he, who is always hurrying, worrying and troubling the miscalls it striving, falls and is avoided. His neighbour, being a calmer man, not more easy going but more deliberate, gets through more work, does it more skillfully, and is more self possessed and manly. This is the reason of his success and influence. His energy is controlled and used, while the other man‘s energy is dispersed and abused. Energy, then, is the first pillar in the temple of prosperity, and without it, as the first and most essential equipment, there can be no prosperity. No energy means no capacity; there is no manly self respect and independence. Amongst the unemployed will be found many who are unemployable through sheer lack of this first essential of work energy. The man that stands many hours a day at a street corner with his hands in his pockets and a pipe in his mouth, waiting for some one to treat him to a glass of beer, is little likely to find employment, or to accept it should it come to him. Physically flabby and mentally inert, he is every day becoming more some, is making himself more unfit to work, and therefore unfit to live. The energetic man may pass through temporary periods of unemployment and suffering, but it is impossible for him to become one of the permanently unemployed. He will either find work or make it, for inertia is painful to him, and work is a delight; and he who delights in work will not long remain unemployed. The lazy man does not wish to be employed. He is in his element when doing nothing. His chief study is how to avoid exertion. To vegetate in semi torpor is his idea of happiness. He is unfit and unemployable. Even the extreme Socialist, who places all unemployment, at the door of the rich, would discharge a lazy, neglectful and unprofitable servant, and so add one more to the arm of the unemployed; for laziness is one of the lowest vices repulsive to all active, right minded men. But energy is a composite power. It does not stand alone. Involved in it are qualities which go to the making of vigorous character and the production of prosperity. Mainly, these qualities are contained in
  • 131. the four following characteristics:- 1. Promptitude 2. Vigilance 3. Industry 4. Earnestness The pillar of energy is therefore a concrete mass composed of these four tenacious elements. They are through, enduring, and are calculated to withstanding the wildest weather of adversity. They all make for life, power, capacity, and progress. Promptitude is valuable possession. It begets reliability. People who are alert, prompt, and punctual are relied upon. They can be trusted to do their duty, and to do it vigorously and well. Masters who are prompt are a tonic to their employees, and a whip to those who are inclined to shirk. They are a means of wholesome discipline to those who would not otherwise discipline themselves. Thus while aiding their own usefulness and success, they contribute to the usefulness and success of others. The perfunctory worker, who is ever procrastinating, and is always behind time, becomes a nuisance, if not go himself, to others, and his services come to be regarded as of little economic value. Deliberation and dispatch, handmaids of promptitude, are valuable aids in the achievement of prosperity. In ordinary business channels, alacrity is a saving power, and promptness spells profit. It is doubtful whether a confirmed procrastinator ever succeeded in business. I have not yet met one such, though I have known many who have failed. Vigilance is the guard of all the faculties and powers of the mind. It is the detective that prevents the entrance of any violent and destructive element. It is the close companion and protector of all success, liberty, and wisdom. Without this watchful attitude of mind, a man is a fool, and there is no prosperity for a fool. The fool allows his mind to be ransacked and robbed of its gravity, serenity, and judgement by mean thoughts and violent passions as they come along to molest him. He is never on his guard, but leaves open the doors of his mind to every nefarious intruder. He is so weak and unsteady as to be swept off his balance by every gust of impulse that overtakes him. He is an example to others of what they should not be. He is always a failure, for the fool is an offence to all men, and there is no society that can receive him with respect. As wisdom is the acme of strength, so folly is the other extreme of weakness. The lack of vigilance is shown in thoughtlessness and in a general looseness in the common details of life. Thoughtlessness is built another name for folly. It lies at the root of a great deal of failure and misery. No one who aims at any kind of usefulness and prosperity (for usefulness in the body politic and prosperity to one‘s self cannot be served)‘ can afford to be asleep with regard to his actions and the effect of those actions on other and reactively on himself. He must, at the outset of his career, wake up to a sense of his personnel responsibility. He must know that wherever he is – in the home, the counting- house, the pulpit, the store, in the schoolroom or behind the counter, in company or alone, at work or at play- his conduct will materially affect his career for good or bad; for there is a subtle influence in behavior which leaves its impression every man, woman, and child that it touches, and that impress is the determining factor in the attitude of persons towards one another. It is for the reason that the cultivation of good manners plays such an important part in all coherent society. If you carry about with you a disturbing or disagreeable mental defect, it needs not to be named and known to work its poison upon your affairs. Its corrosive influence will eat into all your efforts, and disfigure your happiness and prosperity, as powerful acid eats into and disfigures the finest steel. On the other hand, if you carry about an assuring and harmonious mental excellence, it needs no that those about you understand it to be influenced by it. They will be drawn towards you in good –will, often without
  • 132. knowing why, and that good quality will be the most powerful sport in all your affairs, bringing you friends and opportunities, and greatly aiding in the success of all your enterprises. It will even right your minor incapacitaties; covering a multitude of faults. Thus we receive at the hands of the world according to the measure of our giving. For bad, bad; for good, good. For defective conduct, indifferent influence and imperfect success; for superior conduct lasting power and consummate achievement. We act, and the world responds. When the foolish man fails, he blames other, and sees no error in himself; but the wise man watches and corrects himself, and so is assured of success. The man whose mind is vigilant and alert, has thereby a valuable equipment in the achievement of his aims; and if he be fully alive and wide- awake on all occasions, to all opportunities, and against all marring defects of character, what event, what circumstance, what enemy shall overtake him and find him unprepared? What shall prevent him from achieving the legitimate and at which he aims? Industry brings cheerfulness and plenty. Vigorously industrious people are the happiest members of the community. They are not always the richest, if by riches is meant a superfluity of money; but they are always the most lighthearted and joyful, and the most satisfied with what they do and have, and are therefore the richer, if by richer we mean more abundantly blessed. Active people have no time for moping and brooding, or for dwelling selfishly upon their ailments and troubles. Things most used are kept the brightest, and people most employed best retain their brightness and buoyancy of spirit. Things unused tarnish quickest; and the time killer is attacked with ennui and morbid fancies. To talk of having to ―kill time‖ is almost like a confession of imbecility; for who, in the short life at his disposal, and in a world so flooded with resources of knowledge with sound heads and good hearts can fill up every moment of every day usefully and happily, and if they refer to time at all, it is to the effect that it is all too short to enable them to do all that they would like to do. Industry, too, promoted health and well being. The active man goes to bed tired every night; his rest is sound and sweet, and he wakes up early in the morning, fresh and strong for another day‘s delightful toil. His appetite and digestion are good. He has an excellent sauce in recreation, and a good tonic in toil. What companionship can such a man have with moping and melancholy? Such morbid spirits hang around those who do little and dine excessively. People who make themselves useful to the community, receive back from the community their full share of health, happiness, and prosperity. They brighten the daily task, and keep the world moving. They are the gold of the nation and the salt of the earth. ―Earnestness”, said a Great Teacher, ―is the path of immortality. They who are in earnest do not die; they who are not in earnest are as if dead already‖. Earnestness is the dedication of the entire mind to its task. We live only in what we do. Earnest people are dissatisfied with anything short of the highest excellence in whatever they do, and they always reach that excellence. They are so many that are careless and half hearted, so satisfied with a poor performance, that the earnest ones shine apart as it were, in their excellence. They are always plenty of ―vacancies‖ in the ranks of usefulness and service for earnest people. There never was, and never will be, a deeply earnest man or woman who did not fill successfully some suitable sphere. Such people are scrupulous, conscientious, and painstaking, and cannot rest in ease until the very best is done, and the whole world is always on the lookout to reward the best. It always stands ready to pay the full price, whether in money, fame, friends, influence, happiness, scope or life, for that which is of surpassing excellence, whether it be in things material, intellectual, or spiritual. What ever you are – whether shopkeeper or saintly teacher you can safely give the very best to the world without any doubt or misgiving. If the indelible impress of your earnestness be on your goods in the one case, or on your words in the other, your business will flourish, or your precepts will live. Earnest people make rapid progress both in their work and their character. It is thus that they live, and
  • 133. ―do not die‖, for stagnation only is death, and where there is incessant progress and ever ascending excellence, stagnation and health are swallowed up in activity and life. Thus is the making and masonry of the First pillar explained. He who builds it well, and sets it firm and straight, will have a powerful and enduring support in the business of his life. 3. Second pillar – Economy It is said of Nature that she knows on vacuum. She also knows no waste. In the divine economy my Nature everything is conserved and turned to good account. Even excreta are chemically transmitted, and utilized in the building up of new forms. Nature destroys every foulness, not by annihilation, but by transmutation, by sweetening and purifying it, and making it serve the ends of things beautiful, useful and good. That economy which, in nature is a universal principle, is in man a moral quality and it is that quality by which he preserves his energies, and sustains his place as a working unit in the scheme of things. Financial economy is merely a fragment of this principle, or rather it is a material symbol of that economy which is purely mental, and its transmutations spiritual. The financial economist exchanges coppers for silver, silver for gold, gold for notes, and the notes he converts into the figures of a bank account. By these conversions of money into more readily transmissible forms he is the gainer in the financial management of his affairs. The spiritual economist transmutes passions into intelligence, intelligence into principles, principles into wisdom, and wisdom is manifested in actions which are few but of powerful effect. By all these transmutations he is the gainer in character and in the management of his life. True economy is the middle way in all things, whether material or mental, between waste and undue retention. That which is wasted, whether money or mental energy, is rendered powerless; that which is selfishly retained and hoarded up, is equally powerless. To secure power, whether of capital or mentality, there must be concentration, but concentration must be followed by legitimate use. The gathering up of money or energy is only a means; the end is use; and it is use only that produces power. An all round economy consists in finding the middle way in the following seven things:- Money, Food, Clothing, Recreation, Rest, Time and Energy. Money is the symbol of exchange, and represents purchasing power. He who is anxious to acquire financial wealth as well as he who wishes to avoid debt – must study how to apportion, his expenditure in accordance with his income, so as to leave a margin of ever increasing working capital, or to have a little store ready in hand for any emergency. Money spent in thoughtless expenditure – in worthless pleasures or harmful luxuries – is money wasted and power destroyed; for, although a limited and subordinate power, the means and capacity for legitimate and virtuous purchase is, nevertheless, a power, and one that enters largely into the details of our everyday life. The spendthrift can never become rich, but if he begin with riches, must soon become poor. The miser, with all his stored-away gold, cannot be said to be rich, for he is in want, and his gold, lying idle, is deprived of its power of purchase. The thrifty and prudent are on the way to riches, for while they spend wisely they save carefully, and gradually enlarge their spheres as their growing means allow. The poor man who is to become rich must begin at the bottom, and must not wish, nor try to appear affluent by attempting something far beyond his means. There is always plenty of room and scope at the bottom, and it is a safe place from which to begin, as there is nothing below, and everything above. Many a young business man comes at once to grief by swagger and display which he foolishly imagines are necessary to success, but which, deceiving no one but himself, lead quickly to ruin. A modest and true beginning, in any sphere, will better ensure success than an exaggerated advertisement
  • 134. of one‘s standing and importance. The smaller the capital, the smaller should be the sphere of operations. Capital and scope are hand and glove, and they should fit. Concentrate your capital within the circle of its working power, and however circumscribed that circle may be it will continue to widen and extend as the gathering momentum of power presses for expression. Above all take care always to avoid the two extremes of parsimony and prodigality. Food represents life, vitality, and both physical and mental strength. There is a middle way in eating and drinking, as in all else. The man who is to achieve prosperity must be well nourished, but not overfed. The man that starves his body, whether through miserliness or asceticism (both forms of false economy), diminishes his mental energy, and renders his body too enfeebled to be the instrument for any strong achievement. Such a man courts sickly mindedness, a condition conducive only to failure. The glutton, however, destroys himself by excess. His bestialized body becomes a stored up reservoir of poisons, which attract disease and corruption, while his mind becomes more and more brutalized and confused, and therefore more incapable. Gluttony is one of the lowest and most animal vices, and is obnoxious to all who pursue a moderate course. The best workers and most successful men are they who are most moderate in eating and drinking. By taking enough nourishment, but not too much, they attain the maximum physical and mental fitness. Beings thus well equipped by moderation, they are enabled to vigorously and joyfully fight the battle of life. Clothing is covering and protection for the body, though it is frequently wrested from this economic purpose, and made a means of vain display. The two extremes to be avoided here are negligence and vanity. Custom cannot, and need not, be ignored; and cleanliness is all important. The ill-dressed, unkempt man or woman invites failure and loneliness. A man‘s dress should harmonize with his station in life, and it should be of good quality, and be well made and appropriate. Clothing should not be cast aside while comparatively new, but should be well worn. If a man be poor, he will not lose in either self respect or the respect of others by wearing threadbare clothing if it be clean and his whole body be clean and neat. But vanity, leading to excessive luxury in clothing, is a vice which should be studiously avoided by virtuous people. I know a lady who had forty dresses in her wardrobe; also a man who had twenty walking-sticks, about the same number of hats, and some dozen mackintoshes; while another had some twenty or thirty pairs of boots. Rich people who thus squander money on piles of superfluous clothing, are courting poverty, for it is waste, and waste leads to want. The money so heedlessly spent could be better used, for suffering abounds and charity is noble. An obtrusive display in clothing and jewellery bespeaks a vulgar and empty mind. Modest and cultured people are modest and becoming in their dress, and their spare money is wisely used in further enhancing their culture and virtue. Education and progress are of more importance to them than vain and needless apparel; and literature, art, and science are encouraged thereby. A true refinement is in the mind and behaviour, and a mind adorend with virtue and intelligence cannot add to its attractiveness though it may detract from it) by an ostentatious display of the body. Time spent in uselessly adorning the body could be more fruitfully employed. Simplicity in dress, as in other things, is the best. It touches the point of excellence in usefulness, comfort, and bodily grace, and bespeaks true taste and cultivated refinement. Recreation is one of the necessities of life. Every man and women should have some definitive work as the main object of life, and to which a considerable amount of time should be devoted, and he should only turn from it at given and limited periods for recreation and rest. The object of recreation is greater buoyancy of both body and mind, with an increase of power in one‘s serious work. It is, therefore, a means, not an end; and this should ever be born in mind, for, to many, some forms of recreation innocent and good in themselves – become so fascinating that they are in danger of making them the
  • 135. end of life, and of thus abandoning duty for pleasure. To make of life a ceaseless round of games and pleasures, with no other object in life, is to turn living upside down, as it were, and it produces monotony and enervation. People who do it are the most unhappy of mortals, and suffer from languor, ennui, and peevishness. As sauce is an aid to digestion, and can only lead to misery when made the work of life. When a man has done his day‘s duty he can turn to his recreation with a free mind and a light heart, and both his work and his pleasure will be to him a source of happiness. It is a true economy in this particular neither to devote the whole of one‘s time to work nor to recreation, but to apportion to each its time and place; and so fill out life with those changes which are necessary to a long life and a fruitful existence. All agreeable changes is recreation and the mental worker will gain both in the quality and, quantity of his work by laying it down at the time appointed for restful and refreshing recreation; while the physical worker will improve in every way by turning to some form of study as a hobby or means of education. As we do not spend all our time in eating or sleeping or resting, neither should we spend it in exercise or pleasure, but should give recreation its proper place as a natural tonic in the economic scheme of our life. Rest is for recuperation after toil. Every self respecting human being should do sufficient work every day to make his sleep restful and sweet, and his rising up fresh and bright. Enough sleep should be taken, but not too much, over indulgence on the one hand, or deprivation on the other, are both harmful. It is an easy matter to find out how much sleep one requires. By going to bed early, and getting up early (rising a little earlier every morning if one has been in the habit of spending long hours in bed), one can very soon accurately gauge and adjust the number of hours he or she requires for complete recuperation. It will be found as the sleeping hours are shortened that the sleep becomes more and more sound and sweet, and the waking up more and more alert and bright. People who are to prosper in their work must not give way to ignoble ease and over indulgence in sleep. Fruitful labour, and not ease, is the true end of life, and ease is only good in so far as it sub- serves the ends of work. Sloth and prosperity can never be companions can never even approach each other. The sluggard will never overtake success, but failure will speedily catch up with him, and leave him defeated. Rest is to fit us for greater labour, and not to pamper us in indolence. When the bodily vigour is restored, the end of rest is accomplished. A perfect balance between labour and rest contributes considerably to health, happiness, and prosperity. Time is that which we all possess in equal measure. The day is not lengthened for any man. We should therefore see to it that we do not squander its precious minutes in unprofitable waste. He who spends his time in self indulgence and the pursuit of pleasure, presently finds himself old, and nothing has been accomplished. He who fills full with useful pursuits the minutes as they come and go, grows old in honour and wisdom, and prosperity abides with him. Money wasted can be restored; health wasted can be restored; but time wasted can never be restored. It is an old saying that ―time is money‖. It is, in the same way, health, and strength, and talent, and genius, and wisdom, in accordance with the manner in which it is used; and to properly use it, the minutes must be seized upon as they come, for once they are past they can never be recalled. The day should be divided into portions, and everything – work, leisure, meals, recreation – should be attend to in its proper time; and the time of preparation should not be overlooked or ignored. Whatever a man does, he will do it better and more successfully by utilizing some small portion of the day in preparing his mind for his work. The man who gets up early in order to think and plan, that he may weigh and consider and forecast, will always manifest greater skill and success in his particular pursuit, than the man who lives in bed till the last moment, and only gets up just in time to begin breakfast. An hour
  • 136. spend in this way before breakfast will prove of the greatest value in making one‘s efforts fruitful. It is a means of calming and clarifying the mind, and of focussing one‘s energies so as to render them more powerful and effective. The best and most abiding success is that which is made before eight o‘clock in the morning. He who is at his business at six o‘clock, will always other conditions being equal be a long way ahead of the man who is in bed at eight. The lie a bed heavily handicaps himself in the race of life. He gives his early-rising competitor two or three hours start every day. How can he ever hope to win with such a self imposed tax upon his time? At the end of a year that two or three hours start every day is shown in a success which is the synthesis of accumulated results. What, then, must be the difference between the efforts of these two men at the end, say, of twenty years! The lie-a-bed, too, after he gets up is always in a hurry trying to regain lost time, which results in more loss of time, for hurry always defeats its own end. The early rise, who thus economies his time, has no need to hurry, for he is always ahead of the hour, is always well up with his work; he can well afford to be calm and deliberate, and to do carefully and well whatever is in hand, for his good habit shows itself at the end of the day in the form of a happy frame of mind, and in bigger results in the shape of work skillfully and successfully done. In the economizing of time, too, there will be many things which a man will have to eliminate from his life; some of things and pursuits which he loves, and desires to retain, will have to be sacrifice to the main purpose of his life. The studied elimination of non-essentials from one‘s daily life is a vital factor in all great achievement. All great men are adepts in this branch of economy, and it plays an important part in the making of their greatness. It is a form of economy which also enters into the mind, the actions, and the speech, eliminating from them all that is superfluous, and that impedes, and does not sub-serve, the end aimed at. Foolish and unsuccessful people talk carelessly and aimlessly, act carelessly and aimlessly, and allow everything that comes along good, bad, and different to lodge in their mind. The mind of the true economist is a sieve which lets everything fall through except that which is of use to him in the business of his life. He also employs only necessary words, and does only necessary actions, thus vastly minimizing friction and waste of power. To go to bed betime and to get up betime, to fill in every working minute with purposeful thought and effective action, this is the true economy of time. Energy is economized by the formation of good habits. All vices are a reckless expenditure of energy. Sufficient energy is thoughtlessly wasted in bad habits to enable men to accomplish the greatest success, if conserved and used in right directions. If economy be practiced in the six points already considered, much will be done in the conservation of one‘s energies, but a man must go still further, and carefully husband his vitality by the avoidance of all forms of physical self indulgences and impurities, but also all those mental vices such as hurry, worry, excitement, despondency, anger, complaining and envy – which deplete the mind and render it unfit for any important work or admirable achievement. They are common forms of mental dissipation which a man of character should study how to avoid and overcome. The energy wasted in frequent fits of bad temper would, if controlled and properly directed, give a man strength of mind, force of character, and much power to achieve. The angry man is a strong man made weak by the dissipation of his mental energy. He needs self control to manifest his strength. The calm man is always his superior in any department of life, and will always take precedence of him, both in his success, and in the estimation of others. No man can afford to disperse his energies in fostering bad habits and bad tendencies of mind. Every vice, however, apparently small will tell against him in the battle of life. Every harmful self indulgence will come back to him in the form of some trouble or weakness. Every moment of riot or of pandering to his lower inclinations will make his progress more laborious, and will hold him back from scaling the high heaven of his wishes for achievement. On the other hand, he who economizes his energies, and bends
  • 137. them towards the main task of his life, will make rapid progress, and nothing will prevent him from reaching the golden city of success. It will be seen that economy is something far more profound and far reaching than the mere saving of money. It touches every part of our nature and every phase of our life. The old saying, ―Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves‖, may be regarded as a parable, for the lower passions as native energy; it is the abuse of that energy that is bad, and if this personal energy be taken care of and stored up and transmuted, it reappears as force of character. To waste this valuable energy in the pursuit of vice is like wasting the pence, and so losing the pounds, but to take care of it for good uses is to store up the pence of passions, and so gain the golden pounds of good. Take care, therefore, of the lower energies, and the higher achievements will take care of themselves. The Pillar of Economy, when soundly built, will be found to be composed largely of these four qualities:- 1. Moderation 2. Efficiency 3. Resourcefulness 4. Originality Moderation is the strong core of economy. It avoids extremes, finding the middle way in all things. It also consists in abstaining from the unnecessary and the harmful. There can be no such things as moderation in that which is evil, for that would be excess. A true moderation abstains from evil. It is not a moderate use of fire to put our hands into it, but to warm them by it at a safe distance. Evil is a fire that will burn a man though he but touch it. a harmful luxury is best left severely alone. Smoking, snuff taking, alcoholic drinking, gambling, and other such common vices, although they have dragged thousands down to ill health, misery, and failure, have never helped one towards health, happiness and success. The man who eschews them will always be head of the man that pursues them, their talents and opportunities being equal. Healthy, happy, and long lived people are always moderate and abstemious in their habits. By moderation the life forces are preserved; by excess they are destroyed. Men, also, who carry moderation into their thoughts, allaying their passions and feelings, avoiding all unwholesome extremes and morbid sensations and sentiments, add knowledge and wisdom to happiness and health, and thereby attain to the highest felicity and power. The immoderate destroy themselves by their own folly. They weaken their energies and stultify their capabilities, and instead of achieving an abiding success, reach only, at best, a fitful and precarious prosperity. Efficiency proceeds from the right conservation of one‘s forces and powers. All skill is the use of concentrated energy. Superior skill, as talent and genius, is a higher degree of concentrated force. Men are always skillful in that which they love, because the mind is almost ceaselessly centered upon it. Skill is the result of that mental economy which transmutes thought into invention and action. There will be no prosperity without skill, and one‘s prosperity will be in the measure of one‘s skill. By a process of natural selection, the inefficient fall in to their right places. Among the badly paid or unemployed; for who will employ a man who cannot, or will not, do his work properly? An employer may occasionally keep such a man out of charity; but this will be exceptional; as places of business, offices, households, and all centers of organized activity, are not charitable institutions, but industrial bodies which stand or fall but the fitness and efficiency of their individual members. Skill is gained by thoughtfulness and attention. Aimless and inattentive people are usually out of employment – to wit, the lounger at the street corner. They cannot do the simplest thing properly, because they will not rouse up the mind to thought and attention. Recently an acquaintance of mine employed a tramp to clean his windows, but the man had refrained from work and systematic thought
  • 138. for so long that he had become incapable of both, and could not even clean a window. Even when shown how to do it, he could not follow the simple instructions given. This is an instance, too, of the fact that the simplest thing requires a measure of skill in the doing. Efficiency largely determines a man‘s place among his fellows, and leads one on by steps to higher and higher positions as greater powers are developed. The good workman is skillful, with his tools, while the good man is skillful with his thoughts. Wisdom is the highest form of skill. Aptitude in incipient wisdom. There is one right way of doing everything, even the smallest, and a thousand wrong ways. Skill consists in finding the one right way, and adhering to it. The inefficient bungle confusedly about among the thousand wrong ways, and do not adopt the right even when it is pointed out to them. They do this in some cases because they think, in their ignorance, that they know best, thereby placing themselves in a position where it becomes impossible to learn, even though it be only to learn how to clean a window or sweep a floor. Thoughtlessness and inefficiency are all too common. There is plenty of room in the world for common. There is plenty of room in the world for thoughtful and efficient people. Employers of labour know how difficult it is to get the best workmanship. The good workman, whether with tools or brain, whether with speech or thought, will always find a place for the exercise of his skill. Resourcefulness is the outcome of efficiency. It is an important element in prosperity, for the resourceful man is never confounded. He may have many falls, but he will always be equal to the occasion, and will be on his feet again immediately. Resourcefulness has its fundamental cause in the conservation of energy. It is energy transmuted. When a man cuts off certain mental or bodily vices which have been depleting him of his energy, what becomes of the energy so conserved? It is not destroyed or lost, for energy can never be destroyed or lost. It becomes productive energy. It reappears in the form of fruitful thought. The virtuous man is always more successful than the vicious man because he is teeming with resources. His entire mentality is alive and vigorous, abounding with stored up energy. What the vicious man wastes in barren indulgence, the virtuous man uses in fruitful industry. A new life and a new world, abounding with all fascinating pursuits and pure delights, open up to the man who shuts himself off from the old world of animal vice, and his place will be assured by the resources which will well up within him. Barren seed perishes in the earth; there is no place for it in the fruitful economy of nature. Barren minds sink in the struggle of life. Human society makes for good, and there is no room in it for the emptiness engendered by vice. But the barren mind will not sink for ever. When it wills, it can become fruitful and regain itself. By the very nature of existence, by the eternal law of progress, the vicious man must fall; but having fallen, he can rise again. He can turn from vice to virtue, and stand, self respecting and secure, upon his own resources. The resourceful men invent, discover, initiate. They cannot fail, for they are in the stream of progress. They are full of new schemes, new methods, new hopes, and their life is so much fuller and richer thereby. They are men of supple minds. When a man fails to improve his business, his work, his methods, he falls out of the line of progress, and has begun to fail. His mind has become stiff and inert like the body of an aged man, and so fails to keep pace with the rapidly moving ideas and plans of resourceful minds. A resourceful mind is like a river which never runs dry, and which affords refreshment, and supplies new vigour, in times of drought. Men of resources are men of new ideas, and men of new ideas flourish where others fade and decay. Originality is resourcefulness ripened and perfected. Where there is originality there is genius, and men of genius are the lights of the world. Whatever work a man does, he should fall back upon his own resources in the doing it. While learning from others, he should not slavishly imitate them, but should put himself into his work, and so make it new and original. Original men get the ear of the world. They may be neglected at first, but they are always ultimately accepted, and become patterns for mankind. Once a man has acquired the knack of originality, he takes his place as a leader among men in his particular department of knowledge and skill. But originality cannot be forced; it can only be
  • 139. developed; and it is developed by proceeding from excellence to excellence, by ascending in the scale of skill by the full and right use of one‘s mental powers. Let a man consecrate himself to his work, let him, so consecrated, concentrate all his energies upon it, and the day will come when the world will hail him as one of its strong sons; and he, too, like Balzac who, after many years of strenuous toil, one day exclaimed, ―I am about to become a genius!, ―I am about to become a genius‖ will at least discover, to his joy, that he has joined the company of original minds, the gods who lead mankind into newer, higher, and more beneficent ways. The composition of the Second Pillar is thus revealed. Its building awaits the ready work man who will skillfully apply his mental energies. 4. Third pillar – Integrity There is no striking a cheap bargain with prosperity. It must be purchased, not only with intelligent labor, but with moral force. as the bubble cannot endure, so the fraud cannot prosper. He makes a feverish spurt in the acquirement of money, and then collapses. Nothing is ever gained, ever can be gained, by fraud. It is but wrested for a time, to be again returned with heavy interest. But fraud is not confined to the unscrupulous swindler. All who are getting, or trying to get, money without giving an equivalent are practicing fraud, whether they know it or not. Men who are anxiously scheming how to get money without working for it, are frauds, and mentally they are closely allied to the thief and swindler under whose influence they come, sooner or later, and who deprives them of their capital. What is a thief but a man who carries to its logical or later, and who deprives them of their capital. What is a thief but a man who carries to its logical extreme the desire to possess without giving a just return – that is, unlawfully? The man that courts prosperity must, in all his transactions, whether material or mental, study how to give a just return for that which he receives. This is the great fundamental principle in all sound commerce, while in spiritual things it becomes the doing to others that which we would have them do to us, and applied to the forces of the universe, it is scientifically stated in the formula, ―Action and Reaction are equal.‖ Human life is reciprocal, not rapacious, and the man who regards all others as his legitimate prey will soon find himself stranded in the desert of ruin, far away from the path of prosperity. He is too far behind in the process of evolution to cope successfully with honest man. The fittest, the best, always survive, and he being the worst, cannot therefore continue. His end, unless the change in time, is sure it is the goal, the filthy hovel, or the place of the deserted outcast. His efforts are destructive, and not constructive, and he thereby destroys himself. It was Carlyle who, referring to Mohammed being then universally regarded by Christians as an impostor, exclaimed, ―An impostor found a religion! An impostor couldn‘t built a brick house‖ an impostor, a liar a cheat the man of dishonesty cannot build as he has neither tools or material with which to build. He can no more build up a business, a character, a career, a success, than he can found a religion or build a brick house. He not only does not build, but all his energies are bent on undermining what others have built, but his being impossible, he undermines himself. Without integrity, energy and economy will at last fail, but aided by integrity, their strength will be greatly augmented. There is not an occasion in life in which the moral factor does not play an important part. Sterling integrity tell wherever it is, and stamps it hall mark on all transactions; and it does this because of its wonderful coherence and consistency, and its invincible strength. For the man of integrity is in line with the fixed laws of things – not only with the fundamental principles on which human society rests, but with the laws which hold the vast universe together. Who shall set these at naught? Who, then, shall undermine the man of unblemished integrity? He is like a strong tree whose roots are fed by perennial springs, and which no tempest can law low.
  • 140. To be complete and strong, integrity must embrace the whole man, and extend to all the details of his life; and it must be so through and permanent as to withstand all temptations to swerve into compromise. To fail in one point is to fail in all, and to admit, under stress, a compromise with falsehood, howsoever necessary and insignificant it may appear, is to throw down the shield of integrity, and to stand exposed to the onslaughts of evil. The man who works as carefully and conscientiously when his employer is away as when his eye is upon him, will not long remain in an inferior position. Such integrity in duty, in performing the details of his work, will quickly lead him into the fertile regions of prosperity. The shirker, on the other hand – he who does not scruple to neglect his work when his employer is not about, thereby robbing his employer of the time and labour for which he is paid – will quickly come to the barren region of unemployment, and will look in vain for needful labour. There will come a time, too, to the man who is not deeply rooted in integrity, when it will seem necessary to his prospects and prosperity that he should tell a lie or do a dishonest thing – I say, to the man who is not deeply rooted in this principle, for a man of fixed and enlightened integrity knows that lying and dishonesty can never under any circumstance be necessary, and therefore he neither needs to be tempted in this particular, nor can he possibly be tempted but the one so tempted must be able to cast aside the subtle insinuation of falsehood which, in a time of indecision and perplexity, arises within him, and he must stand firmly by the principle, being willing to lose and suffer rather than sink into obliquity. In this way only can he become enlightened concerning this moral principle, and discover the glad truth that integrity does not lead to loss and suffering, but to gain and joy; that honesty and deprivation are not, and cannot be, related as cause and effect. It is this willingness to sacrifice rather than be untrue that leads to enlightenment in all spheres of life; and the man who, rather than sacrifice some selfish aim, will lie or deceive, has forfeited his right to moral enlightenment, and takes his place lower down among the devotees of deceit, among the doers of shady transactions, than men of no character and no reputation. A man is not truly armoured with integrity until he has become incapable of lying or deceiving either by gesture, word, or act; until he sees, clearly, openly, and freed from all doubt, the deadly effects of such moral turpitude. The man so enlightened is protect from all quarters, and can no more be undermined by dishonest men than the sun can be pulled down from heaven by madmen, and the arrows of selfishness and treachery that may be poured upon him will rebound from the strong armour of his integrity and the bright shield of his righteousness, leaving him unharmed and untouched. A lying tradesman will tell you that no man can thrive and be honest in these days of keen competition. How can such a man know this, seeing that he has never tried honest? Moreover, such a man has no knowledge of honesty, and his statement is therefore, a statement of ignorance, and ignorance and falsehood so blind a man that he foolishly imagines all are as ignorant and false as himself. I have known such tradesmen, and have seen them come to ruin. I once heard a businessman make the following statement in a public meeting:-―No man can be entirely honest in business; he can only be approximately honest.‖ He imagined that his statement revealed the condition of the business world; it did not, it revealed his own condition. He was merely telling his audience that he was a dishonest man, but his ignorance, moral ignorance, prevented him from seeing this. Approximate honesty is only another term for dishonesty. The man who deviated a little from the straight path, will deviate more. He has no fixed principle of right and is only thinking of his own advantage. That he persuades himself that his particular dishonesty is of a white and harmless kind, and that he is not so bad as his neighbour, is only of the many forms of self delusion which ignorance of moral principles creates. Right doing between man and main in the varied relations and transactions of life is the very soul of integrity. It includes, but is more than, honesty. It is the backbone of human society, and the support of
  • 141. human institutions. Without it there would be no trust, no confidence between men, and the business world would topple to its fall. As the liar thinks all men are liars, and treats them as such, so the man of integrity treats all men with confidence. He trusts them, and they trust him. His clear eye and open hand shame the creeping fraud so that he cannot practice his fraud on him. As Emerson has so finely put it – ―Trust men and they will be true to you, even though they make an exception in your favor to al their rules of trade.‖ The upright man by his very presence commands the morality of those about him making them better than they were. Men are powerfully influenced by one another, and, as good is more powerful than evil, the strong and good man both shames and elevates, by his contact, the weak and bad. The man of integrity carries about with him an unconscious grandeur which both awes and inspires. Having lifted himself above the petty, the mean, and the false, those coward vices slink from his presence in confusion. The highest intellectual gift cannot compare with this lofty moral grandeur. In the memory of men and the estimation of the world the man of integrity occupies a higher place than the man of genius. Buckminster says, ―The moral grandeur of an independent integrity is the sublimest thing in nature.‖ It is the quality in man which produces heroes. The man of unswerving rectitude is, intrinsically, always a hero. It only needs the occasion to bring out the heroic element. He is always, too, possessed a permanent happiness. The man of genius may be very unhappy, but not to the man of integrity. Nothing nor sickness, nor calamity, nor death – can deprive him of that permanent satisfaction which inheres in uprightness. Rectitude leads straight to prosperity by four successive steps. First, the upright man wins the confidence of others. Second, having gained their confidence, they put trust in him. Third, this trust, never being violated, produces a good reputation; and fourth, a good reputation spreads further and further, and so bring about success. Dishonesty has the reverse effect. By destroying the confidence of others, it produces in them suspicion and mistrust, and these bring about a bad reputation, which culminates in failure. The Pillar of Integrity is held together by these four virile elements: 1. Honesty 2. Fearlessness 3. Purposefulness 4. Invincibility Honesty is the surest way to success. The day at last comes when the dishonest man repents in sorrow and suffering: but not man ever needs to repent of having been honest. Even when the honest man fails – as he does sometimes, through lacking other of these pillars, such as energy, economy, or system his failure is not the grievous thing it is to the dishonest man, for he can always rejoice in the fact that he has never defrauded a fellow being. Even in his darkest hour he finds repose in a clear conscience. Ignorant men imagine that dishonesty is a short cut to prosperity. This is why they practice it. The dishonest man is morally short sighted. Like the drunkard who sees the immediate pleasure of his habit, but not the ultimate degradation, he sees the immediate effect of a dishonest act – a larger profit but not its ultimate outcome; he does not see that an accumulated number of such acts must inevitably undermine his character, and bring his business toppling about his ears in ruin. While pocketing his gains, and thinking how cleverly and successfully he is imposing on others, he is all the time imposing on himself, and every coin thus gained must be paid back with added interest, and from this just retribution there is no possible loophole of escape. This moral gravitation is an sure and unvarying as
  • 142. the physical gravitation of a stone to the earth. The tradesman who demands of his assistants that they shall be, and misrepresents his goods to customers, is surrounding himself on all hands with suspicion, mistrust, and hatred. Even the moral weaklings who carry out his instructions, despise him while defiling themselves with his unclean work. How can success thrive in such a poisonous atmosphere? The spirit of ruin is already in such a business, and the day of his fall is ordained. An honest man may fail, but not because he is honest, and his failure will be honourable, and will not injure his character and reputation. His failure, too, resulting doubtless from his incapacity in the particular direction of his failure, will be a means of leading him into something more suited to his talents, and thus to ultimate success. Fearlessness accompanies honesty. The honest man has a clear eye and an unflinching gaze. He looks his fellowmen in the face, and his speech is direct and convincing. The liar and cheat hangs his head; his eye is muddy and his gaze oblique. He cannot look another man in the eye, and his speech arouses mistrust, for it is ambiguous and unconvincing. When a man has fulfilled his obligations, he has nothing to fear. All his business relations are safe and secure. His methods and actions will endure the light of day. Should he pass through a difficult time, and, get into debt, everybody will trust him and be willing to wait for payment, and all his debts will be paid. Dishonest people try to avoid paying their debts, and they live in fear; but the honest man tries to avoid getting into debt, but when debt overtakes him, he does not fear, but, redoubling his exertions, his debts are paid. The dishonest are always in fear. They do not fear debt, but fear that they will have to pay their debts. They fear their fellow-men, fear the established authorities, fear the results of all that they do, and they are in constant fear of their misdeeds being revealed, and of the consequences which may at any moment overtake them. The honest man is rid of all this burden of fear. He is light hearted, and walks erect among his fellows; not assuming a part, and skulking and cringing, but being himself, and meeting eye to eye. Not deceiving or injuring any, there are none to fear, and anything and against him can only rebound to his advantage. And this fearlessness is, in itself, a tower to strength in a man‘s life, supporting him through all emergencies, enabling him to battle manfully with difficulties, and in the end securing for him that success of which he cannot be dispossessed. Purposefulness is the direct outcome of that strength of character which integrity fosters. The man of integrity is the man of direct aims and strong and intelligent purposes. He does not guess, and work in the dark. All his plans have in them some of that moral fiber of which his character is wrought. A man‘s work will always in some way reflect himself, and the man of sound integrity is the man of sound plan. He weights and considers and looks ahead, and so is less likely to make serious mistakes, or to bungle into a dilemma from which it is difficult to escape. Taking a moral view of all things, and always considering moral consequences, he stands on a firmer and more exalted ground than the man of mere policy and expedience; and while commanding a more extended view of any situation, he wields the greater power which a more comprehensive grasp of details with the principles involved, confers upon him. Morality always has the advantage of expediency. Its purposes always reach down far below the surface, and are therefore more firm and secure, more strong and lasting. There is a native directness, too, about integrity, which enables the man to get straight to the mark in whatever he does, and which makes failure almost impossible. Strong men have strong purposes, and strong purposes lead to strong achievements. The man of
  • 143. integrity is above all men strong, and his strength is manifested in that thoroughness with which he does the business of his life; thoroughness which commands respect, admiration, and success. Invincibility is a glorious protector, but it only envelopes the man whose integrity is perfectly pure and unassailable. Never to violate, even in the most insignificant particular, the principle of integrity, is to be invincible against all the assaults of innuendo, slander, and misrepresentation. The man who has failed in one point is vulnerable, and the shaft of evil, entering that point, will lay him low, like the arrow in the heel of Achilles. Pure and perfect integrity is proof against all attack and injury, enabling its possessor to meet all opposition and persecution with dauntless courage and sublime equanimity. No amount of talent, intellect, or business acumen can give a man that power of mind and peace of heart which come from an enlightened acceptance and observance of lofty moral principles. Moral force is the greatest power. Let the seeker for a true prosperity discover this force, let him foster and develop it in his mind and in his deeds, and as he succeeds he will take his place among the strong leaders of the earth. Such is the strong and adamantine Pillar of integrity. Blessed and prosperous above all men will be he who builds its incorruptible masonry into the temple of his life. 5. Fourth pillar – System System is that principle of order by which confusion is rendered impossible. In the natural and universal order everything is in its place, so that the vast universe runs more perfectly than the most perfect machine. Disorder in space would mean the destruction of the universe; and disorder in a man‘s affairs destroys his work and his prosperity. All complex organizations are built up by system. No business or society can develop into large dimensions apart from system, and this principle is preeminently the instrument of the merchant, the business man, and the organizer of institutions. There are many departments in which a disorderly man may succeed – although attention to order would increase his success but he will not succeed in business unless he can place the business entirely in the hands of a systematic manager, who will thereby remedy his own defect. All large business concerns have been evolved along definitely drawn systematic lines, any violation of which would be disastrous to the efficiency and welfare of the business. Complex business or other organizations are built up like complex bodies in nature, by scrupulous attention to details. The disorderly man thinks he can be careless about every thing but the main end, but by ignoring the means he frustrates the end. By the disarrangement of details, organisms perish, and by the careless neglect of details, the growth of any work or concern is prevented. Disorderly people waste an enormous amount of time and energy. The time frittered away in hunting for things is sufficient, were if conserved by order, to enable them to achieve any success, for slovenly people never have a place for anything, and have to hunt, frequently for a long time, for any article which they require. In the irritation, bad humour, and chagrin which this daily hunting for things brings about, as much energy is dissipated as would be required to build up a big business, or scale the highest heights of achievement in any direction. Orderly people conserve both their time and energy. They never lose anything, and therefore never have to find anything. Everything is in its place, and the hand can be at once placed upon it, though it be in the dark. They can well afford to be cool and deliberate and so use their mental energies in something more profitable than irritation, bad temper and accusing others for their own lack of order. There is a kind of genius in system which can perform apparent wonders with ease. A systematic man can get through so great a quantity of work in such a short time, and with such freedom from such
  • 144. exhaustion, as to appear almost miraculous. He scale the heights of success while his slovenly competitor is wallowing hopelessly in the bogs of confusion. His strict observance of the law of order enables him to reach his ends, swiftly and smoothly, without friction or loss of time. The demands of system, in all departments of the business world, are as rigid and exacting as the holy vows of a saint, and cannot be violated in the smallest particular but at the risk of one‘s financial prospects. In the financial world, the law of order is an iron necessity, and he who faultlessly observes it, saves time, temper, and money. Every enduring achievement in human society rests upon a basis of system; so true is this, that were system withdrawn, progress would cease. Think, for instance, of the vast achievements of literature the works of classic authors and of great geniuses; the great poems, the innumerable prose works, the monumental histories, the soul – stirring orations; think also the social intercourse of human society, of it religions, its legal statutes, and its vast fund of book knowledge think of all these wonderful resources and achievements of language, and then reflect that they all depend for their origin, growth, and continuance on the systematic arrangements of twenty six letters, an arrangement having inexhaustible and illimitable results by the fact of its rigid limitation within certain fixed rules. Again; all the wonderful achievements of mathematics have come from the systematic arrangement of ten figures; while the most complex piece of machinery, with its thousands of parts working together smoothly and almost noiselessly to the achievement of the end for which it was designed, was brought forth by the systematic observance of a few mechanical laws. Herein we see how system simplifies that is complex: how it makes easy that which was difficult; how it relates an infinite variety of details of the one central law or order, and so enables them to be dealt with and accounted for with perfect regularity, and with an entire absence of confusion. The scientist names and classifies the myriad details of the universe, from the microscopic rotifer to the telescopic star, by his observance of the principle of system, so that out of many millions of objects, reference can be made to any one object in, at most, a few minutes. It is this faculty of speedy references and swift dispatch which is of such overwhelming importance in every department of knowledge and industry, and the amount of time and labour thus saved to humanity is so vast as to be incompatible. We speak of religious, political, and business systems; and so on, indicating that all things in human society are welded together by the adhesive qualities of order. System is, indeed, one of the great fundamental principles in progress, and in the binding together, in one complete whole, of the world‘s millions of human beings while they are at the same time each striving for a place and are competing with one another in opposing aims and interest. We see here how system is allied with greatness, for the many separate units whose minds are untrained to the discipline of system, are kept in their places by the organizing power of the comparatively few who perceive the urgent, the inescapable, necessity for the establishment of fixed and inviolable rules, whether in business, law, religion, science, or politics in fact, in every sphere of human activity for immediately two human beings meet together, they need some common ground of understanding for the avoidance of confusion; in a word, some system to regulate their actions. Life is too short for confusion; and knowledge grows and progress proceeds along avenues of system which prevent retardation and retrogression, so that he who systematizes his knowledge or business, simplifies and enhances it for his successor, enabling him to begin, with a free mind, where he left off. Every large business has its system which renders its vast machinery workable, enabling it to run like a well balanced and well oiled machine. A remarkable business man, a friend of mine, once told me that he could have his huge business for twelve months, and it would run on without hitch till his return; and he does occasionally leave it for several months, while travelling, and on his return, every man,
  • 145. boy and girl; every tool, book, and machine; every detail down to the smallest, is in its place doing its work as when he left; and no trouble, no difficulty, no confusion has arisen. There can be no marked success part from a love of regularity and discipline, and the avoidance of friction, along with the restfulness and efficiency of mind which spring from such regularity. People who abhor discipline, whose minds are ungoverned and anarchic, and who are careless and irregular in their thinking, their habits and the management of their affairs, cannot be highly successful and prosperous, and they fill their lives with numerous worries, troubles, difficulties, and petty annoyances, all of which would disappear under a proper regulation of their lives. An unsystematic mind is an untrained mind and it can no more cope with well disciplined minds in the race of life than an untrained athlete can successfully complete with a carefully trained competitor in athletic competitor in athletic races. The ill disciplined mind, that thinks anything will do, rapidly falls behind the well disciplined minds who are convinced that only the best will do in the strenuous race for the prizes of life, whether they be material, mental, or moral prizes. The man who, when he comes to do his work, is unable to find his tools, or to balance his figures, or to find the key of his desk, or the key to his thoughtless, will be struggling in his self made toils while his methodical neighbor will be freely and joyfully scaling the invigorating heights of successful achievement. The business man whose method is slovenly, or cumbersome, or behind the most recent developments of skilled minds, should only blame himself as his prospects are decadent, and should wake up to the necessity for more highly specialized and effective methods in his concern. He should seize upon every thing – every invention and idea – that will enable him to economize time and labour, and aid him in thoroughness, deliberation and dispatch. System is the law by which everything – every organism, business, character, nation, empire – is built. By adding cell to cell, department to department, thought to thought, law to law, and colony to colony in orderly sequence and classification, all things, concerns and institutions grow in magnitude, and evolve to completeness. The man who is continually improving his methods, is gaining in building power; it therefore behoves the business man to be resourceful and inventive in the improvement of his methods, for the builders – whether of cathedrals or characters, business or religions – are the strong ones of the earth, and the protectors and pioneers of humanity. The systematic builder is a creator and preserver, while the man of disorder demolishes and destroys, and no limit can be set to the growth of a man‘s powers, the completeness of his character, the influence of his organization, or the extent of his business, if he but preserve intact the discipline of order, and have every detail in its place, keep every department to its special task, and tabulate and classify with such efficiency and perfection as to enable him at any moment to bring under examination or into requisition to the remotest detail in connection with his special work. In system is contained these four ingredients: 1. Readiness 2. Reccuracy 3. Utility 4. Comprehensiveness Readiness is aliveness. It is that spirit of alertness by which a situation is immediately grasped and dealt with. The observance of system fosters and develops this spirit. The successful General must have the power of readily meeting any new and unlooked for move on the part of the enemy; so every business man must have the readiness to deal with any unexpected development affecting his line of trade; and so also must the man of thought be able to deal with the details of any new problems which may arise. Dilatoriness is a vice that is fatal to prosperity, for it leads to incapability and stupidity. The men of
  • 146. ready hands, ready hearts, and ready brains, who know what they are doing, and do it methodically, skillfully, and with smooth yet consummate despatch are the men who need to think little of prosperity as an end, for it comes to them whether they seek it or not; success runs after them, and knocks at their door; and they unconsciously command it by the superb excellence of their faculties and methods. Accuracy is of supreme importance in all commercial concerns and enterprises, but there can be no accuracy apart from system, and a system which is more or less imperfect will involve its originator in mistakes more or less disastrous until he improves it. Inaccuracy is one of the commonest failings, because accuracy is closely allied to self-discipline, and self-discipline, along with that glad subjection to external discipline which it involves, is an indication of high moral culture to which the majority have not yet attained. If the inaccurate man will not willingly subject himself to the discipline of his employer or instructor, but thinks he knows better, his failing can never be remedied, and he will thereby bind himself down to an inferior position, if in the business world; or to imperfect knowledge, if in the world of thought. The prevalence of the vice of inaccuracy (and in view of its disastrous effect it must be regarded as a vice, though perhaps one of the lesser vices) is patent to every observe in the way in which the majority of people relate a circumstance or repeat a simple statement of fact. It is nearly always made untrue by more or less marked inaccuracies. Few people, perhaps (not reckoning those who deliberately lie), have trained themselves to be accurate in what they say, or are so careful as to admit and state their liability to error, and from this common form of inaccuracy many untruths and misunderstandings arise. More people take pains to be accurate in what they do than in what they say, but even here inaccuracy is very common, rendering many inefficient and incompetent, and unfitting them for any strenuous and well sustained endeavour. The man who habitually uses up a portion of his own or his employer‘s time in trying to correct his errors, or for the correction of whose mistakes another has to be employed, is not the man to maintain any position in the work a day world; much less to reach a place among the ranks of the prosperous. There never yet lived a man who did not make some mistakes on his way to his particular success, but he is the capable and right minded man who perceives his mistakes and quickly remedies them, and who is glad when they are pointed out to him. It is habitual and persistent; inaccuracy which is a vice; and he is the incapable and wrong minded man who will not see or admit his mistakes, and who takes offence when they are pointed out to him. The progressive man learns by his own mistakes as well as by the mistakes of others. He is always ready to test good advice by practice, and aims at greater and ever greater accuracy in his methods, which means higher and higher perfection, for accuracy is perfect, and the measure of a man‘s accuracy will be the measure of his uniqueness and perfection. Utility or usefulness, is the direct result of method in one‘s work. Labour arrives at fruitful and profitable ends when it is systematically pursued. If the gardener is to gather in the best produce, he must not only sow and plant, but he must sow and plant at the right time; and if any work is to be fruitful in results, it must be done seasonably, and the time for doing a thing must not be allowed to pass by. Utility considers the practical end; and employs the best means to reach that end. It avoids side issues, dispenses with theories, and retains its hold only on those things which can appropriated to good uses in the economy of life. Unpractical people burden their minds with useless and unverifiable theories, and court failure by entertaining speculations which, by their very nature, cannot be applied in practice. The man whose powers are shown in what he does, and not in mere talking are arguing, avoids metaphysical quibbling
  • 147. and quandaries, and applies himself to the accomplishment of some good and useful end. That which cannot be reduced to practice should not be allowed to hamper the mind. It should be thrown aside, abandoned, and ignored. A man recently told me that if his theory should be proved to have no useful end, he should still retain his hold upon it as a beautiful theory. If a man chooses to cling to so-called ―beautiful‖ theories which are proved to have no use in life, and no substantial basis of reality, he must not be surprised if he fails in his wordly undertakings, for he is an unpractical man. When the powers of the mind are diverted from speculative theorizing to practical doing, whether in material or moral directions, skill, power, knowledge, and prosperity increase. A man‘s prosperity is measured by his usefulness to the community, and a man is useful in accordance with that he does, and not because of the theories which he entertains. The carpenter fashions a chair; the builder erects a house; the mechanic produces a machine; and the wise man moulds a perfect character. Not the schismatic, the theorists and the controversialists, but the workers, the makers, and the doers are the salt of the earth. Let a man turn away from the mirages of intellectual speculation, and begin to do something, and to do it with all his might, and he will thereby gain a special knowledge, wield a special power, and reach his own unique position and prosperity among his fellows. Comprehensiveness is that quality of mind which enables a man to deal with a large number of related details, to grasp them in their entirety, along with the single principle which governs them and binds them together. It is a masterly quality, giving organizing and governing power, and is developed by systematic attention to details. The successful merchant holds in his mind, as it were, all the details of his business, and regulates them by a system adapted to his particular form of trade. The inventor has in his mind all the details of his machine, along with their relation to a central mechanical principle, and so perfects his invention. The author of a great poem or story relates all his characters and incidents to a central plot, and so produces a composite and enduring literary work. Comprehensiveness is analytic and synthetic capacity combined in the same individual. A capacious and well ordered mind, which holds within its silent depths an army of details in their proper arrangement and true working order, is the mind that is near to genius, even if it has not already arrived. Every man cannot be a genius nor does he need to be, but he can be gradually evolving his mental capacity by careful attention to system in his thoughts and business, and as his intellect depends and broadens his powers will be intensified and his prosperity accentuated. Such, then, are four corner pillars in the Temple of Prosperity, and of themselves they are sufficient to permanently sustain it without the addition of the remaining four. The man who perfects himself in Energy, Economy, Integrity, and System will achieve an enduring success in the work of his life, no matter what the nature of that work may be. It is impossible for one to fail who is full of energy, who carefully economizes his time and money, and virtuously husbands his vitality, who practices unswerving integrity, and who systematizes his work by first systematizing his mind. Such a man‘s efforts will be rightly directed, and that, too, with concentrated power, so that they will be effective and fruitful. In addition he will reach a manliness and an independent dignity which will unconsciously command respect and success, and will strengthen weaker ones by its very presence in their midst. ―Seest thou a man diligent in business; he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men,‖ says Scripture of such a one. He will not beg, or whimper, or complain, or cynically blame others, but will be too strong and pure and upright a man to sink himself so low. And so standing high in the nobility and integrity of his character, he will fill a high place in the world and in the estimation of men. His success will be certain and his prosperity will endure. ―He will stand and not fall in the battle of life.‖
  • 148. 6. Fifth pillar – Sympathy The remaining pillars are the four central pillars in the Temple of Prosperity. They gave it greater strength and stability, and add both to its beauty and utility. They contribute greatly to its attractiveness, for they belong to the highest moral sphere, and therefore to great beauty and nobility of character. They, indeed, make a man great, and place him among the comparatively few whose minds are rare, and that shine apart in sparkling purity and bright intelligence. Sympathy should not be confounded with that maudlin and superficial sentiment which, like a pretty flower without root, presently perishes and leaves behind neither seed nor fruit. To fall into hysterical some suffering abroad, is not sympathy. Neither are bursts of violent indignation against the cruelties and injustices of others nor any indication of a sympathetic mind. If one is cruel at home – if he badgers his wife, or beats his children, or abuses his servants, or stabs his neighbors with shafts of bitter sarcasm what hypocrisy is in his profession of love for suffering people who are outside the immediate range of his influence! What shallow sentiment informs his bursts of indignation against the injustice and hard heartedness in the world around him. Says Emerson of such – ―Go, love they infant; love thy wood chopper; be good natured and modest; have that grace; and never varnish your hard uncharitable ambition with this incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off. They love afar is spite at home‖. The test of a man is in his immediate acts, and not in ultra sentiments; and if those acts are consistently informed with selfishness and bitterness, if those at home hear his steps with dread, and feel a joyful relief on his departure, how empty are his expressions of sympathy for the suffering or down trodden how futile his membership of a philanthropic society. Though the well of sympathy may feed the spring of tears, that spring more often draws its supply from the dark pool of selfishness, for when selfishness is thwarted it spends itself in tears. Sympathy is a deep, silent, inexpressible tenderness which is shown in a consistently self forgetful gentle character. Sympathetic people are not gushing and spasmodic, but are permanently self restrained, firm, quiet, unassuming and gracious. Their undisturbed demeanour, where the suffering of others is concerned, is frequently mistaken for indifference by shallow minds, but the sympathetic and discerning eye recognizes, in their quiet strength and their swiftness to aid while others are sweeping, and wronging their hands, the deepest, soundest sympathy. Lack of sympathy is shown in cynicism, illnatured sarcasm, bitter ridicule, taunting and mockery, and anger and condemnation, as well as in that morbid and false sentiment which is a theoretical and assumed sympathy, having no basis in practice. Lack of sympathy arises in egotism; sympathy arises in love. Egotism is involved in ignorance; love is allied to knowledge. It is common with men to imagine themselves as separate from their fellows, with separate aims and interests; and to regard themselves as right and others wrong in their respective ways. Sympathy lifts a man above this separate and self centred life and enables him to live in the hearts of his fellows, and to think and feel with them. He puts himself in their place, and becomes, for the time being, as they are. As Whitman, the hospital hero, expresses it – ―I do not ask the wounded person.‖ It is a kind of impertinence to question a suffering creature. Suffering calls for aid and tenderness, and not for curiosity; and the sympathetic man or woman feels the suffering, and ministers to its alleviation. Nor can sympathy boast, and wherever self praise enters in, sympathy passes out. If one speaks of his many deeds of kindness, and complains of the ill treatment he has received in return, he has not done kindly deeds, but has yet to reach that self forgetful modest which is the sweetness of sympathy. Sympathy, in its real and profound sense, is oneness with others in their strivings and sufferings, so that
  • 149. the man of sympathy is a composite being; he is, as it were, a number of men, and he views a thing from a number of different sides, and not from one side only, and that his own particular side. He sees with the others men‘s eyes, hears with their ears, thinks with their minds, and feels with their hearts. He is thus able to understand men who are vastly different from himself; the meaning of their lives is revealed to him, and he is united to them in the spirit of goodwill. Said Balzac – ―The poor fascinate me; their hunger is my hunger; I am with them in their homes; their privations I suffer; I feel the beggar‘s rags upon my back; I for the time being become the poor and despised man.‖ It reminds us of the saying of One greater than Balzac, that a deed done for a suffering little one was done for him. And so it is; sympathy leads us to the hearts of all men, so that we become spiritually united to them, and when they suffer we feel the pain; when they are glad we rejoice with them; when they are despised and persecuted, we spiritually descend with them into the depths, and take into our hearts their humiliation and distress; and he who has this binding, uniting spirit of sympathy, can never be cynical and condemnatory can never pass thoughtless and cruel judgements upon his fellows; because in his tenderness of heart he is ever with them in their pain. But to have reached this ripened sympathy, it must needs be that one has loved much, suffered much and sounded the dark depths of sorrow. It springs from acquaintance with the profoundest experiences, so that a man has ad conceit, thoughtlessness, and selfishness burnt out of his heart. No man can have true sympathy who has not been, in some measure at least, ―a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,‖ but the sorrow and grief must have passed, must have ripened into a fixed kindness and habitual calm. To have suffered so much in a certain direction that the suffering is finished, and only its particular wisdom remains, enables one, wherever that suffering presents itself, to understand and deal with it by pure sympathy; and when one has been ―perfected by suffering‖ in many directions, he becomes a centre of rest and healing for the sorrowing and broken hearted who are afflicted with the affections which he has experienced and conquered. As a mother feels the anguish of her suffering child, so the man of sympathy feels the anguish of suffering men. Such is the highest and holiest sympathy, but a sympathy much less perfect is a great power for good in human life and a measure of it is everywhere and every day needed. While rejoicing in the fact that in every walk in life there are truly sympathetic people, one also perceives that harshness, resentment, and cruelty are all too common. These hard qualities bring their own sufferings, and there are those who fail in their business, or particular work, entirely because of the harshness of their disposition. A man who is fiery and resentful, or who is hard, cold and calculating, with the springs of sympathy dried up within him, even though he be otherwise an able man, will, in the end scarcely avoid disaster in his affairs. His heated folly in the one case, or cold cruelty in the other, will gradually isolate him from his fellows and from those who are immediately related to him in his particular avocation, so that the elements of prosperity will be eliminated from his life, leaving him with a lonely failure, and perhaps a hopeless despair. Even in ordinary business transactions, sympathy is an important factor, for people will always be attracted to those who are of a kindly and genial nature, preferring to deal with them rather than with those who are hard and forbidding. In all spheres where direct personal contact plays an important part, the sympathetic man with average ability will always take precedence of the man of greater ability but who is unsympathetic. If a man be a minister or a clergyman, a cruel laugh or an unkind sentence from him will seriously injure his reputation and influence, but particularly his influence, for even they who admire his good qualities will, through his unkindness, unconsciously have a lower regard for him in their personal esteem.
  • 150. If a business man profess religion, people will expect to see the good influence of that religion on his business transactions. To profess to be a worshipper of the gentle Jesus on Sunday, and all the rest of the wee be a hard, grasping worshipper of mammon, will injure his trade, and detract considerably from his prosperity. Sympathy is a universal spiritual language which all, even the animals, instinctively understand and appreciate, for all beings and creatures are subject to suffering, and this sameness of painful experience leads to that unity of feeling which we call sympathy. Selfishness impels men to protect themselves at the expense of others; but sympathy impels them to protect others by the sacrifice of self; and in this sacrifice of self there is no real and ultimate loss, for while the pleasure of selfishness are small and few, the blessings of sympathy are great and manifold. It may be asked, ―How can a business man; whose object is to develop his own trade, practice self- sacrifice?‖ Even man can practice self sacrifice just where he is, and in the measure that he is capable of understand it. If one contends that he cannot practice a virtue it, for were his circumstances different, he would still have the same excuse. Diligence in business is not incompatible with self sacrifice, for devotion to duty, even though that duty be trade, is not selfishness, but may be an unselfish devotion. I know a business man who, when a competitor who had tried to ‗cut him out‘ in business, cut himself out and failed, set that same competitor up in business again. Truly a beautiful act of self sacrifice; and the man that did it is, today, one of the most successful and prosperous of business men. The most prosperous commercial traveler I have ever known, was overflowing with exuberant kindness and geniality. He was as innocent of all ―tricks of trade‖ as a new born infant, but his great heart and manly uprightness won for him fast friends wherever he went. Men were glad to see him come into their office or shop or mill, and not alone for the good and bracing influence he brought with him, but also because his business was sound and trustworthy. This man was successful through sheer sympathy, but sympathy so pure and free from policy, that he himself would probably have denied that his success could be attributed to it. Sympathy can never hinder success. It is selfishness that blights and destroys. As goodwill increases, man‘s prosperity will increase. All interests are mutual, and stand or fall together, and as sympathy expands the heart, it extends the circle of influence, making blessings, both spiritual and material, to more greatly abound. Fourfold are the qualities which make up the great virtue of sympathy, namely:- 1. Kindness 2. Generosity 3. Gentleness 4. Insight Kindness, when fully developed, is not a passing impulse but a permanent quality. An intermittent and unreliable impulse is not kindness, though it often goes under that name. There is no kindness in praise if it be followed by abuse. The love which seems to prompt the spontaneous kiss will be of little account if it be associated with a spontaneous spite. The gift which seemed so gracious will lose its value should the giver afterwards wish its value in return. To have one‘s feelings aroused to do a kind action towards another by some external stimulus pleasing to one‘s self, and shortly afterwards to be swayed to the other extreme towards the same person by an external event unpleasing to one‘s self, should be regarded as weakness of character; and it is also a selfish condition, us, and when he pleases us, to be thinking of one‘s self only. A true kindness is unchangeable, and needs no external stimulus to force it into action. It is a well from which thirsty souls can always drink, and it never runs dry. Kindness, when it is a strong virtue, is bestowed not only on those who please us, but also upon those
  • 151. whose actions go contrary to our wish and will, and it is a constant and never – varying glow of genial warmth. There are some actions of which men repent; such are all unkind actions. There are other actions of which men do not repent, and such are all kind actions. The day comes when men are sorry for the cruel things they said and did; but the day of gladness is always with them for the kindly things they have said and done. Unkindness mars a man‘s character, it mars his face as time goes on, and it mars that perfection of success which he would otherwise reach. Kindness beautifies the character, it beautifies the face with the growth of the years, and it enables a man to reach that perfection of success to which his intellectual abilities entitle him. A man‘s prosperity is mellowed and enriched by the kindness of his disposition. Generosity goes with a larger hearted kindness. If kindness be the gentle sister, Generosity is the strong brother. A free, open handed, and magnanimous character is always attractive and influential. Stringiness and meanness always repel; they are dark, cramped, narrow, and cold. Kindness and generosity always attack; they are sunny, genial, open, and warm. That which repels makes for isolation and failure; that which attracts makes for union and success. Giving is as important a duty as getting; and he who gets all he can, and refuses to give, will at last be unable to get; for it is as much a spiritual law that we cannot get unless we give, as that we cannot give unless we get. Giving has always been taught as a great and important duty by all the religious teachers. This is because giving is one of the highways of personal growth and progress. It is a means by which we attain to greater and greater unselfishness, and by which we prevent the falling back into selfishness. It implies that we recognize our spiritual and social kinship with our fellow-men, and are willing to part with a portion of that we have earned or possess, for man who, the more he gets, hungers for more still, and refuses to loosen his grasp upon his accumulating store, like a wild beast with its prey, is retrogressing; he is shutting himself out from all the higher and joy giving qualities, and from free and life giving communion with unselfish, happy human hearts. Dickens‘s Scrooge in ―A Christmas Carol‖ represents the condition of such a man with graphic vividness and dramatic force. Our public men in England to-day (probably also in America) are nearly all (I think I might say all, for I have not yet met an exception) great givers. These men – Lord Mayors, Mayors, Magistrates, Town and City Councillors, and all men filling responsible public offices – being men who have been singularly successful in the management of their own private affairs, are considered the best men for the management of public affairs, and numerous noble institutions throughout the land are perpetual witnesses to the munificence of their gifts. Nor have I been able to find any substantial truth in the accusation, so often hurled against such men by the envious and unsuccessful, that their riches are made unjustly. Without being perfect men, they are an honourable class of manly, vigorous, generous, and successful men, who have acquired riches and honour by sheer industry, ability and uprightness. Let a man beware of greed, of meanness, of envy, of jealousy, of suspicion, for these things, if harboured, will rob him of all that is best in life, aye, even all that is best in material things, as well as all that is best in character and happiness. Let him be liberal of heart and generous of hand, magnanimous and trusting, not only giving cheerfully and often of his substance, but allowing his friends and fellow-men freedom of thought and action – let him be thus, and honour, plenty, and prosperity will come knocking at the door for admittance as his friends and guests. Gentleness is akin to divinity. Perhaps no quality is so far removed from all that is coarse, brutal and selfish as gentleness, so that when one is becoming gentle, he is becoming divine. It can only be
  • 152. acquired after much experience and through great self-discipline. It only becomes established in a man‘s heart when he has controlled and brought into subjection his animal voice, a distinct, firm, but quiet enunciation, and freedom from excitement, vehemence, or resentment in peculiarly aggravating circumstances. If there is one quality which, above all others, should distinguish the religious man, it is the quality of gentleness, for it is the hall mark of spiritual culture. The rudely aggressive man is an affront to cultivated minds and unselfish hearts. Our word gentlemen has not altogether departed from its original meaning. It is still applied to one who is modest and self-restrained, and is considerate for the feelings and welfare of others. A gentle man one whose good behavior is prompted by thoughtfulness and kindliness is always loved, whatever may be his origin. Quarrelsome people make a display in their bickering and recriminations – of their ignorance and lack of culture. The man who has perfected himself in gentleness never quarrels. He never returns the hard word; he leaves it alone, or meets it with a gentle word which is far more powerful than wrath. Gentleness is wedded to wisdom, and the wise man has overcome all anger in himself, and so understands how to overcome it in others. The gentleman is saved from most of the disturbances and turmoil‘s with which uncontrolled men afflict themselves. While they are wearing themselves out with wasteful and needless strain, he is quiet and composed, and such quietness and composure are strong to win in the battle of life. Insight is the gift of sympathy. The sympathetic mind is the profoundly perceiving mind. We understand by experience, and not by argument. Before we can know a thing or being, our life must touch its or his life. Argument analyzes the outer skin, but sympathy reaches to the heart. The cynic sees the hat and coat, and thinks he sees the man. The sympathetic seer sees the man, and is not concerned with the hat and coat. In all kinds of hatred there is a separation by which each misjudges the other. In all kinds of love there is a mystic union by which each knows the other. Sympathy, being the purest form of this the greatest poet because he has the largest heart. No other figure in all literature has shown such a profound knowledge of the human heart, and of nature both animate and inanimate. The personal Shakespeare is not to be found in his works; he is merged, by sympathy, into his characters. The wise man and the philosopher; the madman and the fool; the drunkard and the harlot – these he, for the time into their particular experiences and knew them better than they knew themselves. Shakespeare has no partiality, no prejudice; his sympathy embraces all, from the lowest to the highest. Prejudice is the great barrier to sympathy and knowledge. It is impossible to understand those against whom one harbours a prejudice. We only see men and things as they are when we divest our minds of partial judgements. We become seers as we become sympathizers. Sympathy has knowledge for her companion. Inseparable are the feeling heart and the seeing eye. The man of pity is the man of prophecy. He whose heart beats in tune with all hearts, to him the contents of all hearts are revealed. Nor are past and future any longer insoluble mysteries to the man of sympathy. His moral insight apprehends the perfect round of human life. Sympathetic insight lifts a man into the consciousness of freedom, gladness and power. His spirit inhales joy as his lungs inhale air. There are no longer any fears of his fellow-men of competition, hard times, enemies, and the like. These grovelling illusion have disappeared, and there has opened up before his awakened vision a realm of greatness and grandeur. 7. Sixth pillar – Sincerity Human society is held together by its sincerity. A universal falseness would beget a universal mistrust which would bring about a universal separation, if not destruction. Life is made sane, wholesome, and happy, by our deep rooted belief in one another. If we did not trust men, we could not transact business
  • 153. with them, could not even associate with them. Shakespeare‘s ―Timon‖ shows us the wretched condition of a man who, through his own folly, has lost all faith in the sincerity of human nature. He cuts himself off from the company of all men, and finally commits suicide. Emerson has something to the effect that if the trust system were withdrawn from commerce, society would fall to pieces; that system being an indication of the universal confidence men place in each other. Business, commonly supposed by the shortsighted and foolish to be all fraud and deception is based on a great trust – a trust that men will meet and fulfil their obligations. Payment is not asked until the goods are delivered; and the fact of the continuance of this system for ages, proves that most men do pay their debts, and have no wish to avoid such payment. Back of all its shortcomings, human society rests on a strong basis of truth. Its fundamental note in sincerity. Its great leaders are all men of superlative sincerity; and their names and achievements are not allowed to perish – a proof that the virtue of sincerity is admired by all the race. It is easy for the insincere to imagine that everybody is like themselves, and to speak of the ―rottenness of society‖, - though a rotten thing could endure age after age, for is not everything yellow to the jaundiced eye? People who cannot see anything good in the constitution of human society, should overhaul themselves. Their trouble is near home. They call good, evil. They have dwelt cynically and peevishly on evil till they cannot see good, and everything and everybody appears evil. ―Society is rotten from top to bottom‖, I heard a man say recently; and he asked me if I did not think so. I replied that I should be sorry to think so; that while society had many blemishes, it was sound at the core, and contained within itself the seeds of perfection. Society, indeed is so sound that the man who is playing a part for the accomplishment of entirely selfish ends cannot long prosper, and cannot fill any place as an influence. He is soon unmasked and disagreed; and the fact that such a man can, for even a brief period, batten on human credulity, speaks well for the trustfulness of men, if it reveals their lack of wisdom. An accomplished actor on the stage is admired, but the designing actor on the stage of life brings himself down to ignominy and contempt. In striving to appear what he is not, he becomes as one having no individuality, no character, and he is deprived of all influence, all power, all success. A man of profound sincerity is a great moral force, and there is no force – not even the highest intellectual force – that can compare with it. Men are powerful in influence according to the soundness and perfection of their sincerity. Morality and sincerity are so closely bound up together, that where sincerity is lacking, morality, as a power, is lacking also, for insincerity undermines all the other virtues, so that they crumble away and become of no account. Even a little insincerity robs a character of all its nobility, and makes it common and contemptible. Falseness is so despicable a vice and no man of moral weight can afford to dally with pretty complements, or play the fool with trivial and howsoever light, in order to please, and he is no longer strong and admirable, but is become a shallow weakling whose mind has no deep well of power from which men can draw, and no satisfying richness to stir in them a worshipful regard. Even they who are for the moment flattered with the painted lie, or pleased with the deftly woven deception, will not escape those permanent under currents of influence which move the heart and shape the judgement to fixed and final issues, while these designed delusions create but momentary ripples on the surface of the mind. ―I am very pleased with his attentions,‖ said a woman of an acquaintance, ―but I would not marry him‖. ―Why not?‖ she was asked. ―He doesn‘t ring true‖, was the reply. Ring true, a term full of meaning. It has reference to the coin which, when tested by its ring, emits a sound which reveals the sterling metal throughout, without the admixture of any base material. It comes
  • 154. up to the standard, and will pass anywhere and everywhere for its full value. So with men. Their words and actions emit their own peculiar influence. There is in them an inaudible sound which all other men inwardly hear and instinctively detect. They know the false ring from the true, yet know not how they know. As the outer ear can make the most delicate distinctions in sounds, so the inner ear can make equally subtle distinctions between souls. None are ultimately deceived but the deceiver. It is the blind folly of the insincere that, while flattering themselves upon their successful simulations, they are deceiving none but themselves. Their actions are laid bare before all hearts. There is at the hear of man a tribunal whose judgements do not miscarry. If the senses faultlessly detect, shall not the soul infallibly know! This inner infallibility is shown in the collective judgement of the race. This judgement is perfect; so perfect than in literature, art, science, invention, religion – in every department of knowledge – it divides the good from the bad, the worthy from the unworthy, the true from the false, zealously guarding and preserving the former, and allowing the latter to perish. The works, words, and deeds of great men are the heirlooms of the race, and the race is not careless of their value. A thousand men write a book, and one only is a work of original genius, yet the race singles out that one, elevates and preserves it, while it consigns the nine hundred and ninety nine copyists to oblivion. Ten thousand men utter a sentence under a similar circumstance, and one only is a sentence of divine wisdom, yet the race singles out that saying for the guidance of posterity, while the other sentences are heard no more. It is true that the race slays its prophets, but even that slaying becomes a test which reveals the true ring, and men detect its tureens. The slain one has come up to the standard, and the deed of his slaying is preserved as furnishing infallible proof of his greatness. As the counterfeit coin is detected, and cast back into the melting pot, while the sterling coin circulates among all men, and is valued for its worth, so the counterfeit word, deed, or character is perceived, and is left to fall back into the nothingness from which it emerged, a thing unreal, powerless, dead. Spurious things have no value, whether they be bric-a-brac or men. We are ashamed of imitations that try to pass for the genuine article. Falseness is cheap. The masquerader becomes a byword; he is less than a man; he is a shadow, a spook, a mere mask. Trueness is valuable. The sound hearted man becomes an exemplar; he is more than a man; he is a reality; a force, a moulding principle, by falseness all is lost – even individuality dissolves for falseness is nonentity, nothingness. By trueness everything is gained, for trueness is fixed, permanent, real. It is all important that we be real; that we harbour no wish to appear other than what we are; that we simulate no virtue, assume no excellency, adopt no disguise. The hypocrite thinks he can hood wink the world and the eternal law of the world. There is but one person that he hoodwinks, and that is himself, and for that the law of the world inflicts its righteous penalty. There is an old theory that the excessively wicked are annihilated. I think to be a pretender is to come as near to annihilation as a man can get, for there is a sense in which the man is gone, and in his place there is but a mirage of shams. The hell of annihilation which so many dread, he has descended into; and to think that such a man can prosper is to think that shadows can do the work of entities, and displace real men. If any man thinks he can build up a successful career on pretences and appearances, let him pause before sinking into the abyss of shadows; for in insincerity there is no solid ground, no substance, no reality; there is nothing on which anything can stand, and no material with which to build; but there are loneliness, poverty, shame, confusion, fears, suspicions, weeping, groaning, and lamentations; for if there is one hell lower, darker, fouler than all others, it is the hell of insincerity. Four beautiful traits adorn the mind of the sincere man; they are:- 1. Simplicity 2. Attractiveness
  • 155. 3. Penetration 4. Power Simplicity is naturalness. It is simple being, without fake or foreign adornment. Why are all things in nature so beautiful? Because they are natural. We see them as they are, no task they might wish to appear, for in sooth they have no wish to appear, for in sooth they have no wish to appear otherwise. There is no hypocrisy in the world of nature outside of human nature. The flower which is so beautiful in all eyes would lose its beautify in all eyes would nature we look upon reality, and its beauty and perfection gladden and amaze us. We cannot find anywhere a flaw, and are conscious of our incapacity to improve upon anything, even to the most insignificant. Everything ha sits own peculiar perfection, and shines in the beauty of unconscious simplicity. One of the modern social cries is, ―Back to nature‖. It is generally understood to mean a cottage in the country, and a piece of land to cultivate. It will be of little use to go into the country if we take our shams with us; and any veneer which may cling to us can as well be washed off just where we are. It is good that they who feel burdened with the conventions of society should fly to the country, and court the quiet of nature, but it will fail if it by anything but a means to that inward redemption which will restore us to the simple and the true. But though humanity has wandered from the natural simplicity of the animal world, it is moving towards a higher, a divine simplicity. Men of great genius are such because of their spontaneous simplicity. They do not foreign; they are. Lesser minds study style and effect. They wish to cut a striking figure on the stage of the world, and by that unholy wish they are doomed to mediocrity. Said a man to me recently, ―I would give twenty years of my life to be able to write an immortal hymn.‖ With such an ambition a man cannot write a hymn. He wants to pose. He is thinking of himself, of his own glory. Before a man can writer an immortal hymn, or create any immortal work he must give, not twenty years of his life to ambition but his can do anything great, and must sing, paint, write, out of ten thousand bitter experiences, ten thousand failures, ten thousand conquests, ten thousand joys. He must know Gethsemane; he must work with blood and tears. Retaining his intellect and moral powers, and returning to simplicity, a man becomes great. He forfeits nothing real. Only the shams are cast aside, revealing the standard gold of character. Where there is sincerity there will always be simplicity – a simplicity of the kind that we see in nature, the beautiful simplicity of truth. Attractiveness is the direct outcome of simplicity. This is seen in the attractiveness of all natural objects; to which we have referred, but in human nature it is manifested as personal influence. Of recent years certain pseudomystics have been advertising to sell the secret of ―personal magnetism‖ for so many dollars, by which they purport to show vain people how they can make themselves attractive to others by certain ―occult‖ means as though attractiveness can be brought and sold, and put on and off like powder and paint. Nor are people who are anxious to be thought attractive, likely to become so, for their vanity is a barrier to it. The very desire to be thought attractive is, in itself, a deception, and it leads to the practice of numerous deceptions. It infers, too, that such people are conscious of lacking the genuine attractions and graces of character, and are on the look out for a substitute; but there is no substitute for beauty of mind and strength of character. Attractiveness, like genius, is lost by being coveted, and possessed by those who are too solid and sincere of character to desire it. There is nothing in human nature – nor talent, nor intellect, nor affection, nor beauty of features that can compare in attractive power with that soundness of mind and wholeness of heart which we call sincerity. There is a perennial charm about a sincere man or woman, and they draw about themselves the best specimens of human nature. There can be no personal charm apart from sincerity. Infatuation there may be, and is, but this is a kind of disease, and is vastly different from the indissoluble bond by which sincere people
  • 156. are attached. Infatuation ends in painful disillusion, but as there is nothing hidden between sincere souls, and they stand upon that solid ground of reality, there is no illusion to be displayed. Leaders among men attract by the power of their sincerity, and the measures of their sincerity is the measure of their sincerity is the great may be a man‘s intellect he can never be a permanent leader and guide of men unless he be sincere. For a time he may sail jauntily upon the stream of popularity, and believe himself secure, but it is only that he may shortly fall the lower in popular odium. He cannot long deceive the people with his painted front. They will soon look behind, and find of what spurious stuff he is made. He is like a woman with a painted face. She thinks she is admired for her complexion, but all know it is paint, and despise her for it. she has one admirer – herself, and the hell of limitation to which all the insincere commit themselves is the hell of self admiration. Sincere people do not think of themselves, of their talent, their genius, their virtue, their beautify and because they are so unconscious of themselves, they attract all, and win their confidence, affection, and esteem. Penetration belongs to the sincere. All shams are unveiled in their presence. All simulators are transparent to the searching eye of the sincere man. With one clear glance he sees through all their flimsy pretences. Tricksters with under his strong gaze, and want to get away from it. He who has rid his heart of all falseness, and entertains only that which is true, has gained the power to distinguish the false from the true in others. He is not deceived who is not self deceived. As men, looking around on the objects of nature, infallibly distinguish them such as a snake, a bird, a horse, a tree, a rose, and so on – so the sincere man distinguishes between the variety of characters. He perceives in a movement, a look, a word, an act, the nature of the man, and acts accordingly. He is on his guard without being suspicious. He is prepared for the pretender without being mistrustful. He acts from positive knowledge, and not from negative suspicion. Men are open to him, and he reads their contents. His penetrative judgement pierces to the centre of actions. His direct and unequivocal conduct strengthens in others the good, and shames the bad, and he is a staff of strength to those who have not yet attained to his soundness of heart and head. Power goes with penetration. An understanding of the nature of actions is accompanied with the power to meet and deal with all actions in the right and best way. Knowledge is always power, but knowledge of the nature of actions is superlative power, and he who possesses it becomes a Presence to all hearts, and modifies their actions for good. Long after his bodily presence has passed away, he is still a moulding force in the world and is a spiritual reality working subtly in the minds of men, and shaping them towards sublime ends. At first his power local and limited, but the circle of righteousness which he has set moving, continues to extend and extended till it embraces the whole world, and all men are influenced by it. The sincere man stamps his character upon all that he does, and also upon all people with whom he comes in contact. He speaks a word in season, and some one is impressed; the influence is communicated to another, and another, and presently some despairing soul ten thousand miles away hears it and is restored. Such a power is prosperity in itself, and its worth is not to be valued in coin. Money cannot purchase the priceless jewels of character, but labour in right doing can, and he who makes himself sincere, who acquires a robust soundness throughout his entire being, will become a man of singular success and rare power. Such is the strong pillar of sincerity. It supporting power is to great that, one it is completely erected, the Temple of Prosperity is secure. Its walls will not crumble; its rafters will not decay; its roof will not fall in. It will stand while the man lives, and when has passed away it will continue to afford a shelter and a home for others through many generation.
  • 157. 8. Seventh pillar – Impartiality To get rid of prejudice is a great achievement. Prejudices piles obstacles in a man‘s way – obstacles to health, success, happiness, and prosperity, so that he is continually running up against imaginary enemies, who, when prejudice is removed, are seen to be friend. Life, indeed, a sort of obstacle race to the man of prejudice, a race wherein the obstacles cannot be negotiated and the goal is not reached; whereas to the impartial man life is a day‘s walk in a pleasant country, with refreshment and rest at the end of the day. To acquire impartiality, a man must remove that innate egotism which prevents him from seeing any thing from any point of view other than this own. A great task, truly; but a notable, and one that can be well begun now, even if it cannot be finished. Truth can ―remove mountains‖, and prejudice is a range of mental mountains beyond which the partisan does not see, and of which he does not believe there is any beyond. These mountains removed, however, there opens to the view the unending vista of mental variety blended in one glorious picture of light and shade, of colour and tone, gladdening beholding eyes. By clinging to stubborn prejudice what joys are missed, what friends are sacrificed, what happiness is destroyed, and what prospects are blighted! And yet freedom from prejudice is a rare thing. There are few men who are not prejudiced partisans upon the subjects which are of interest to them. One rarely meets a man that will dispassionately discuss his subject from both sides, considering all the facts and weighing all the evidence so as to arrive at truth on the matter. Each partisan has his own case to make out. He is not searching for truth, for he is already convinced that his own conclusion is the truth, and that all else is error; but he is defending his own case, and striving for victory. Neither does he attempt to prove that he has the truth by a calm array of facts and evidence, but defends his position with more or less heat and agitation. Prejudice causes a man to form a conclusion, sometimes without any basis of fact or knowledge, and then to refuse to consider anything which does not support that conclusion; and in this way prejudice is a complete barrier to the attainment of knowledge. It binds a man down to darkness and ignorance, and prevents the development of his mind in the highest and noblest directions. More than this, it also shuts him out from communion with the best minds, and confines him to the dark and solitary cell of his own egotism. Prejudice is a shutting up of the mind against the entrance of new light, against the perception of more beauty, against the hearing of diviner music. The partisan clings to his little, fleeting, flimsy opinion, and thinks it the greatest thing in the world. He is so in love with his own conclusion (which is only a form of self love), that he thinks all men ought to agree with him, and he regards men as more or less stupid who do not see as he sees, while he praises the good judgement of those who are one with him in his view. Such a man cannot have knowledge, cannot have truth. He is confined to the sphere of opinion (to his own self created illusions) which is outside the realm of reality. He moves in a kind of self infatuation which prevents him from seeing the commonest facts of life, while his own theories – usually more or less groundless – assume, in his mind, overpowering proportions. He fondly imagines that there is but one side to everything, and that side is his own. There are at least two sides to everything, and he it is who finds the truth in a matter who carefully examines both sides with all freedom from excitement, and without any desire for the predominance of one side over another. In its divisions and controversies the world at large is like two lawyers defending a case. The counsel for the prosecution presents all the facts which prove his side, while counsel for the defense presents all the facts which support his contention, and each belittles or ignores, or tries to reason away, the facts of the other. The Judge in the case, however, is like the impartial thinker among men: having listened to all the evidence on both sides, he compares and sifts it so as to form an impartial summing up in the
  • 158. cause of justice. Not that this universal partiality is a bad thing, nor as in all other extremes, nature here reduces the oppositions of conflicting parties to a perfect balance; moreover, it is a factor in evolution; it stimulates men to think who have not yet developed the power to rouse up vigorous thought at will, and it is a phase through which all men have to pass. But it is only byway – and a tangled, confused and painful one – towards the great highway of Truth. It is the are of which impartiality is the perfect round. The partisan sees a portion of the truth, and thinks it the whole, but the impartial thinker sees the whole truth which includes all sides. It is necessary that we find see truth in sections, as it were, until, having gathered up all the parts, we may piece them together and form the perfect circle, and the forming of such circle is the attainment of impartiality. The impartial man examines, weighs, and considers, with freedom from prejudice and from likes and dislikes. His one wish is to discover the truth. He abolishes preconceived opinions, and lets facts and evidence speak for themselves. He has no case to make out for himself, for he knows that truth is unalterable, that his opinions can make no difference to it, and that it can be investigated and discovered. He thereby escapes a vast amount of friction and nervous wear and tear to which the feverish partisan is subject; and in addition, he looks directly upon the face of Reality, and so becomes tranquil and peaceful. So rare is freedom from prejudice that wherever the impartial thinker may be, he is sure, sooner or later, to occupy a very high position in the estimation of the world, and in the guidance of its destiny. Not necessarily an office in worldly affairs, for that is improbable, but an exalted position in the sphere of influence. There may be such a one now, and he may be a carpenter, a weaver, a clerk; he may be in poverty or in the home of a millionaire; he may be short or tall, or of any complexion, but whatever and wherever he may be, he has, though unknown, already begun to move the world, and will one day be universally recognized at a new force and creative centre in evolution. There was one such some nineteen hundred years ago. He was only a poor, unlettered carpenter; He was regarded as a madman by His own relatives, and he came to an ignominious end in the eyes of His countrymen, but He sowed the seeds of an influence which has altered the whole world. There was another such in India some twenty five centuries ago. He was accomplished, highly educated, and was the son of a capitalist and landed proprietor a petty king. He became a penniless, homeless mendicant, and to day one third of the human race worship at his shrine, and are restrained and elevated by his influence. ―Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this plane,‖ says Emerson; and a man is not a thinker who is bound by prejudice; he is merely the strenuous upholder of an opinion. Every idea must pass through the medium of his particular prejudice, and receive its colour, so that dispassionate thinking and impartial judgement are rendered impossible. Such a man sees everything only in its relation, or imagined relation, to his opinion, whereas the thinker sees things as they are. The man who has so purified his mind of prejudice and of all the imperfections of egotism as to be able to look directly upon reality, has reached the acme of power; he holds in his hands, as it were, the vastest influence, and he will wield this power whether he knows it or not; it will be inseparable from his life, and will go from him as perfume from the flower. It will be in his words, his deeds, in his bodily postures and the motions of his mind, even in his silence and the stillness of his frame. Wherever he goes, even though he should fly to the desert, he will not escape this lofty destiny, for a great thinker is the centre of the world; by him all men are held in their orbits and all thought gravitates towards him. The true thinker lives above and beyond the seething whirlpool of passion in which mankind is engulfed. He is not swayed by personal consideration, for he has grasped the importance of impersonal principles, and being thus a noncombatant in the clashing warfare of egotistic desires, he can, from the
  • 159. vantage ground of an impartial but not indifferent watcher, see both sides equally, and grasp the cause and meaning of the fray. Not only the Great Teachers, but the greatest figures in literature, are those who are free from prejudice, who, like true mirrors, effect things impartially. Such are Whitman, Shakespeare, Balzac, Emerson, Homer. These minds are not local, but universal. Their attitude is cosmic and not personal. They contain within themselves all things and beings all worlds and laws. They are the gods who guide the race, and who will bring it at last out of its fever of passion into their own serene land. The true thinker is the greatest of men, and his destiny is the most exalted. The altogether impartial mind has reached the divine, and it basks in the full daylight of Reality. The four great elements of impartiality are 1. Justice 2. Patience 3. Calmness 4. Wisdom Justice is the giving and receiving of equal values. What is called ―striking a hard bargain‖ is a kind of theft. It means that the purchaser gives value for only a portion of his purchase, the remainder being appropriated as clear gain. The seller also encourages it by closing the bargain. The just man does not try to gain an advantage; he considers the true values of things, and moulds his transactions in accordance therewith. He does not let ―what will pay‖ come before ―what is right‖, for he knows that the right pays best in the end. He does not seek his own benefit to the disadvantage of another, for he knows that a just action benefits, equally and fully, both parties to a transaction. If ―one man‘s loss is another man‘s gain,‖ it is only that the balance may be adjusted later on. Unjust gains cannot lead to prosperity, but are sure to bring failure. A just man could no more take from another an unjust gain by what is called a ―smart transaction‖ that he could take it by picking his pocket. He would regard the one as dishonest as the other. The bargaining spirit in business is not the true spirit of commerce. It is the selfish and thieving spirit which wants to get something for nothing. The upright man purges his business of all bargaining, and builds it one the more dignified basis of justice. He supplies ―a good article‖ at its right price, and does not alter. He does not soil his hands with any business which is tainted with fraud. His goods are genuine and they are properly priced. Customers who try to ―beat down‖ a tradesman in their purchases are degrading themselves. Their practice assumes one or both of two things, namely, that either the tradesman is dishonest and is overcharging (a low, suspicious attitude of mind), or that they are eager to cajole him out of his profit (an equally base attitude), and so benefit by his loss. The practice of ―bearing down‖ is altogether a dishonest one, and the people who pursue it most assiduously are those who complain most of being ―imposed on‖ and this is not surprising, seeing that they themselves are all the time trying to impose upon others. On the other hand, the tradesman who is anxious to get all he can out of his customers, irrespective of justice and the right values of things, is a kind of robber, and is slowly poisoning his success, for his deeds will assuredly come home to him in the form of financial ruin. Said a man of fifty to me other day, ―I have just discovered that all my life I have been paying fifty percent, more for everything than I ought to.‖ A just man cannot feel that he has ever paid too much for anything, for he does not close with any transaction which he considers unjust; but if a man is eager to
  • 160. get everything at half price, them he will be always meanly and miserably mourning that he is paying double for everything. The just man is glad to pay full value for everything, whether in giving or receiving and his mind is untroubled and his days are full of peace. Let a man above all avoid meanness, and strive to be ever more and more perfectly just, for if not just, he can be neither honest, nor generous, nor manly, but is a kind of disguised thief trying to get all he can, and give back as little as possible. Et him eschew all bargaining, and teach bargainers a better way by conducting his business with that exalted dignity which commands a large and meritorious success. Patience is the brightest jewel in the character of the impartial man. Not a particular patience with a particular thing – like a girl with her needlework, or a boy building his toy engine but on unswerving considerateness, a sweetness of disposition at all times and under the most trying circumstances, an unchangeable and gentle strength which no trial can mar and no persecution can break. A rare possession, it is true, and one not to be expected for a long time yet from the bulk of mankind, but a virtue that can be reached by degree, and even a partial patience will work wonders in a man‘s life and affairs, as a confirmed impatience all work devastation. The irascible man is courting speedy disaster, for who will care to deal with a man who continually going off like ground powder when some small spark of complaint or criticism falls upon him! Even his friends will one by one desert him, for who would court the company of a man who rudely assaults him with an impatient and fiery tongue over every little difference or misunderstanding. A man must begin to wisely control himself, and to learn the beautiful lessons of patience, if he is to be highly prosperous, if he is to be a man of use and power. He must learn to think of others, to act for their good, and not alone for himself; to be considerate, for bearing, and long suffering. He must study how to have a heart at peace with men who differ from him on those things which he regards as most vital. He must avoid quarrelling as he would avoid drinking a deadly poison. Discords from without will be continually overtaking him, but he must fortify himself against them; he must study how to bring harmonies out of them by the exercise of patience. Strife is common: it pains the heart and distorts the mind. Patience is rare, it enriches the heart and beautifies the mind. Every cat can spit and fume; it requires no effort, but only a looseness of behavior. It takes a man to keep his mornings through all events, and to be painstaking and patient with the shortcomings of humanity. But patience wins. As soft water wears away the hardest rock, so patience overcomes all opposition. It gains the hearts of men. It conquers and controls. Calmness accompanies patience. It is a great and glorious quality. It is the peaceful haven of emancipated souls after their long wanderings on the tempest riven ocean of passion. It makes the man who has suffered much, endured much, experienced much, and has finally conquered. A man cannot be impartial who is not calm. Excitement, prejudice, and partiality spring from disturbed passions. When personal feeling is thwarted, it rises and seethes like a stream of water that is dammed. The calm man avoids this disturbance by directing his feeling from the personal to the impersonal channel. He thinks and feels for others as well as for himself. He sets the same value on other men‘s opinions as on his own. If he regards his on work as important, he sees also that the work of other men is equally important. He does not content for the merit of his own against the demerit of that of others. He is not overthrown, like Humptydumpty, with a sense of self importance. He has put aside egotism for truth, and he perceives the right relations of things. He has conquered irritability, and has come to see that there is nothing in itself that should cause irritation. As well be irritable with a pansy because it is not a rose, as a with a man because he does not see as you see. Minds differ, and the calm man recognizes the differences as facts in human nature. The calm, impartial man, is not only the happiest man, he also has all his powers at his command. He is sure, deliberate, executive, and swiftly and easily accomplishes in silence what the irritable men slowly